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MMTC asks FCC to
halt LPTV applications until diversity ownership hearings end
25, 2009) The Minority Media and Telecommunications has asked the FCC
not to accept applications specifying channels 5 and 6 in its January
2010 filing window for low-power TV stations and TV translators, and
would also like the FCC to delay processing those applications in the
August 25, 2009 window.
MMTC Exec. Director David Honig notes in the letter that it's been
proposed in the FCC's ongoing diversity hearing that the channels be
used for FM broadcasting and says, "It is critical that the commission
avoid accepting applications for new Channel 5 and 6 stations and delay
processing the pending applications so as not to prejudice the
commission's consideration of the various proposals that have been
submitted for the use of this spectrum for FM broadcasting."
Honig points out that the MMTC filed comments in support of a proposal
from the Broadcast Maximization Committee to use the channel 5 and 6
spectrum for new and displaced LPFMs, to expanding the noncommercial
educational service, and for reallocating AM stations as digital-only
transmissions. Indeed, he says the BMC proposal "may be the only means
to save the AM stations in a digital-only world."
He writes that "without a freeze on the filing and processing of
applications for Channels 5 and 6 in the LPTV digital filing windows,
the commission will preclude the proposed uses of this spectrum space
and waste the remaining spectrum space that could be much better used to
save the AM service, eliminate the sharing arrangement with FM and LPFM
stations and respond to the large number of interested parties wanting
new NCE stations."
Honig also says that the FCC's granting new station authorizations in
the spectrum would "violate basic procedural due process requirements"
when interest has been expressed in other uses for channels 5 and 6. He
adds that the FCC has a "once in a generation opportunity" to solicit
ideas for the spectrum and says it would be "extremely short sighted" of
the FCC to process applications for the channels.