NAB's Smith: FCC Should Limit Station Moves in Repacking
Says Congress provided a blueprint for spectrum auction success
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/26/2012 1:59:04 PM
In a letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, Smith said that would limit viewer dislocation and ensure that stations that do move are compensated in a timely fashion.
Smith also asked that the FCC give broadcasters "ample time" to evaluate FCC auction and repacking plans. Smith's letter comes the day after NAB exec Jane Mago made those arguments at an FCC repacking workshop, and a day before Hearst TV President David Barrett will make a similar pitch to Congress at a future of video hearing.
If "hold harmless" was the NAB rallying cry before the auctions were approved, "transparency" is the new watchword as the FCC comes up with a game plan for reclaiming and re-auctioning spectrum.
"It's clear that repacking has the potential to be disruptive to viewers - whether as a temporary or permanent loss of service," he writes. "Transparency will be paramount in protecting the interests of viewers during this process. The free flow of information is also critical to potential buyers and sellers of spectrum and is vital to the ultimate success of the auction."
That is because for broadcasters to feel comfortable either putting their spectrum up for auction, or keeping it for the digital future, they need to know where they stand with the FCC, a point Barrett and Mago also make.
Smith gave Congress a shout-out, saying that it had given the FCC a "blueprint for success." That blueprint includes the NAB-backed assurances that the reclamation will be possible and broadcasters signal integrity and coverage will be preserved to the best of the FCC's ability.
"By actively engaging TV broadcasters as partners in this process," said Smith, "the FCC can achieve its goals of acquiring more spectrum for wireless broadband while preserving spectrum dedicated to free broadcast television for future generations."
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