FCC Makes Initial $87 Million Allocation to Displaced LPTV and TV Translator Stations

March 26, 2020

On March 26, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau announced that they have concluded their initial assessment of reimbursement requests for low power television (LPTV) and TV translator stations and allocated 85% of verified cost estimates for eligible stations.

In the Reimbursement Expansion Act (REA), Congress allocated up to $150 million in fiscal year 2018 funds from the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund to reimburse expenses incurred by LPTV and TV translator stations displaced as a result of the post-Incentive Auction transition. To be eligible for reimbursement, an LPTV or TV translator station must have (i) been eligible to file an application during the Special Displacement Window, (ii) filed during that window, and (iii) had its application granted. An LPTV/translator station was eligible to file in the Special Displacement Window if it was operating on April 13, 2017 and it was displaced as a result of the repacking process.

The FCC received 947 eligibility submissions, of which it determined that 844 LPTV/translator stations demonstrated their eligibility for reimbursement. The aggregate amount of displacement estimates totaled $164,922,143, with eligible stations accounting for $143,633,411. After reviewing the estimates, the Fund Administrator and the FCC verified expenses totaling $102,437,198. The Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau will send an email to each eligible station detailing: (1) the aggregate verified amount for that entity’s submitted estimate; (2) where adjustments (if any) were made; and (3) the amount of the modification to any cost estimate line items.

The Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau have provided each eligible station with an initial allocation of 85% of its verified cost estimates, for a total of $87,071,619. LPTV and TV translator stations may immediately begin requesting reimbursement for their expenses. Stations will need to have a Form 1876 on file with the Commission before the FCC will distribute reimbursement payments.

If you have any questions about the reimbursement process, please contact one of the attorneys listed on this alert or the Wiley attorney who regularly handles your FCC matters.

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