NPR urges FCC to help stations dislocated by spectrum auction

By Mike Janssen

NPR has asked the FCC to consider reimbursing broadcasters for the costs of any antenna relocations that may result from the upcoming auction of television broadcast spectrum.

In a Nov. 4 comment filed with the commission, NPR pointed out that spectrum repacking may require broadcasters to upgrade towers, which in turn could temporarily dislocate radio antennas. “To avoid undue hardship to NCE and other radio stations as a result of the television spectrum reassignment, NPR urges the Commission to construe its statutory authority broadly and flexibly to assure cost reimbursement in all compelling cases such as these,” the network wrote.

NPR can’t predict the costs or number of dislocations that may occur as a result of the auction, which is slated for next year, said Mike Riksen, v.p. for policy and representation. But the network will continue to keep track of the situation and later will discuss possible effects with engineers and others within public radio, he said.

NPR is also keeping tabs on the potential for interference between radio stations and newly relocated TV stations sharing towers with them, Riksen said. Radio and TV stations sharing towers have been able to iron out interference problems over time, “but if repackaging is going to put TV operations on new frequencies, interference needs to be reassessed,” he said.

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