Update: Approved. All LPTV and TV translator stations are now able to share a channel with a full power or Class A station.
Original Article: The FCC announced they will consider a Report and Order on 23 March 2017 that will include new channel sharing opportunities for LPTV stations & Translators.
LPTV and TV translator stations may now voluntarily share a single channel with Class A and Full Power television stations (as well as other LPTV and TV translator stations).
Here are some of the highlights:
- A Class A station or secondary LPTV or TV translator that shares a full power sharer’s channel outside the auction would be permitted to operate with the technical facilities of the full power station.
- An LPTV or TV translator station that shares a full power or Class A station’s channel would obtain “quasi”-primary interference protection for the duration of the channel sharing arrangement since the full power or Class A station is a primary licensee.
- A full power sharee sharing a Class A or secondary sharer’s channel would have to operate at the Class A or LPTV/Translator’s lower power level.
- Each sharing station would continue to be licensed separately, have its own call sign, and independently be subject to all of the Commission’s rules.
- Stations generally would have the same carriage rights at their shared location that they would have if they were not channel- sharing.
Make note, there’s no mention of independent companion channels. It looks as if the FCC is taking a cooperative approach, which would be good for LPTV in multiple ways— channel availability and business agreements with other broadcasters.
The Report and Order, released as part of a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding, is available here.