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Federal Communications Commission
1919 - M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

April 16, 1998


By this Public Notice, the Commission today grants the request of the National Translator Association (NTA) to postpone from April 20, 1998, until June 1, 1998, the first day for filing "DTV displacement relief" applications by licensees and permittees of low power television (LPTV) and TV translator stations. On March 24, 1998, the NTA filed its "Ex Parte Request for Stay of Effective Date of Eligibility for Filing DTV Related Displacement Applications," seeking this delay.

In the digital television (DTV) proceeding, the Commission adopted measures to help LPTV and TV translator operators who will lose their channels due to interference conflicts with DTV stations, including the opportunity to apply on a "first-come" basis for replacement channels and other facilities changes necessary to resolve conflicts or preserve their existing service areas. Operators facing imminent channel displacement, for example due to the filing of an application for a conflicting DTV station, may apply for such displacement relief at any time. April 20th was to be the first date on which stations facing eventual, as opposed to imminent, displacement could file their channel replacement applications. There is a premium on filing applications on the initial filing date, because displacement applications are filed on a first-come basis and there will not likely be enough channels to accommodate all displaced stations.

The NTA urges that a large number of potentially displaced stations need more time to prepare applications, and that these demands exceed the resources of the relatively small group of engineers who select the replacement channels and prepare the engineering specifications in the applications. It points out that the engineering community is undergoing a "steep learning curve" regarding DTV-related analysis, relevant software for such analysis is only now becoming available and that at least two translator groups need more time to develop area-wide plans. NTA's request is supported by several low power station operators and by engineering consultants who represent hundreds of LPTV and TV translator stations. Two licensees of multiple LPTV stations oppose the request, stating that they have expended substantial efforts and resources to meet the April 20th initial filing date.

The Commission agrees with the reasons given by the NTA and is persuaded that many stations do need more time to prepare applications that may be critical to their survival. Also, without additional time, applicants may be inclined to submit hastily prepared deficient applications, in order to reserve their "place in line", intending to later correct deficiencies identified by the Commission staff. Poorly prepared applications would slow application processing and delay the authorization of needed replacement channels.

The Commission recognizes that a postponement of the initial filing date could disadvantage some LPTV and TV translator stations. During the postponement period, additional full service DTV applications will be filed, thus prompting additional imminent displacement applications and reducing the number of replacement channels available to remaining LPTV and TV translator stations. Nonetheless, we are persuaded that far more stations will benefit from the postponement. Finally, we note that some LPTV or TV translator operators may not learn of this action until after filing their applications on April 20th. Therefore, displacement relief applications of a nonimminent nature filed between April 20 and June 1 will be held at the Commission and given a filing date of June 1, 1998.

For additional information contact Keith Larson, Assistant Chief for Engineering, Mass Media Bureau at (202) 418-2600.

By the Chief, Mass Media Bureau