FCC Aids Katrina-Damaged Media

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The FCC is clearing the way for broadcast and cable outlets affected by Hurricane Katrina to get back up and running.

In a public notice Wednesday, the Media Bureau said, "In light of the extensive damage to businesses and homes in the Gulf Coast region, and the essential need for broadcast services to the residents of the region, the FCC will provide additional assistance on an expedited basis to MVPDs [multichannel video point distributors] and broadcast stations in order to get the systems and stations back on the air as quickly as possible."

The commission will expedite requests for temporary facilities or modifications for TV and radio stations and multichannel video providers.

It will also waive notification requirements for those temporary fixes and extend the notification periods for stations that have gone dark.

AM radio stations will be allowed to maintain full power at night to broadcast emergency information. (They usually have to power down for interference and channel separation reasons.)

Cable operators will be cleared of a variety of regulatory underbrush for temporary operational authority and tech fixes.

The FCC also says it will extend the deadline for FY 2005 regulatory fees from 11:59 PM, Sept. 7, 2005, to 11:59 PM Sept. 28.

"Licensees and regulatees affected by the hurricane must include a certification that payment could not be made within the previous announced time because of the hurricane," the FCC said. Anybody who has already submitted a payment but thinks it might not have gotten to the FCC should contact the commission "as soon as practicable" with the details of their payment.

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