FCC To Announce November 27, 2020 Lifting of Television Freezes

Wiley Rein LLP

The public notice announcing the lifting of multiple freezes affecting television applications and petitions is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register on November 12, 2020, according to an advanced notice of publication released on Tuesday, November 10, 2020. Assuming publication proceeds as planned, the freezes will be lifted as of Friday, November 27, 2020 (the day after Thanksgiving).

As we previously advised, the Media Bureau will be lifting multiple freezes that have prevented broadcasters from requesting modifications to the facilities of certain full power and Class A television stations, including freezes on:

  • Petitions for rulemaking to change channels;
  • Petitions for rulemaking seeking a new digital television (DTV) allotment;
  • Petitions to swap an in-core channel;
  • Petitions for rulemaking to change a station’s community of license; and
  • Modification applications to increase a full power or Class A television station’s service area.

These freezes had been adopted over the past 16 years to prevent changes to the DTV database in preparation, initially, for the digital transition, and then for the incentive auction.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has not indicated that it will be implementing a filing window for applications or petitions. Accordingly, filings will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis (with all applications and petitions filed on November 27, 2020 deemed filed at the same time).

The freeze on the filing of applications for new LPTV/translator digital stations and major changes remains in effect.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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