In a letter to newly confirmed FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, a bipartisan group of 23 U.S. Senators urged the FCC to take into account the significance of low power television (LPTV) and translator stations in rural communities as it develops rules for the upcoming incentive auction of television broadcast spectrum. Led by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), these Senators stated, “Countless farmers and ranchers, small businesses and families living in remote areas rely on receiving over-the-air television through translators and low power televisions stations. With this is mind, we ask the FCC to minimize the impacts of repacking spectrum in rural areas following the upcoming incentive spectrum auction.”
Senate Commerce Committee members Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Dean Heller (R-NV) were among those signing this letter. The group noted the financial constraints of those who usually own and operate LPTV, and, after urging the FCC to ensure continued access to over-the-air television, stated, “That’s why it is crucial for the FCC to take into account the unique challenges of updating translators and low power television stations after repacking spectrum.”
NRB has continued to call for the FCC to purposefully protect programming choices for Americans, specifically the religious and family programming that NRB TV Members provide free of charge to local communities. NRB has also urged Members of Congress to find out what steps the Commission will be taking to make sure LPTV is not forced off the air. Notably, the Senators signing this letter to FCC Chairman Wheeler concluded, “We respectfully request a response addressing the efforts of the FCC to ensure the millions of rural viewers in our states are protected.”
As the FCC works to advance this spectrum auction, NRB continues to urge a process that fairly honors the services and investments of Christian television broadcasters in their local communities.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: November 15, 2013