WASHINGTON, DC -- NAB today filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging certain elements of the Federal Communications Commission's May 2014 broadcast spectrum incentive auction order.
Specifically, the NAB challenged, among other things, the FCC decision to change the methodology used to predict local television coverage areas and population served, which could result in significant loss of viewership of broadcast TV stations after the FCC "repacks" TV stations into a shrunken TV band.
"Under this new methodology, many broadcast licensees, including NAB's members, will lose coverage area and population served during the auction's repacking and reassignment process, or be forced to participated in the auction (and relinquish broadcast spectrum rights)," the NAB lawsuit stated.
The petition also states that the FCC failed to take steps to preserve licensees' coverage areas in repacking, and that the FCC erred in failing to ensure proper protections for broadcast translators, which are transmitters that help boost the coverage of broadcast TV programming to more rural and remove viewers.
The following statement can be attributed to Rick Kaplan, NAB executive vice president of Strategic Planning:
"NAB has engaged with the FCC throughout the incentive auction rulemaking to implement a successful auction that adheres to Congressional statute, is truly voluntary, and holds harmless the millions of viewers who are reliant on local TV. Unfortunately, the FCC order oversteps congressional mandate and is likely to cause significant harm to broadcast television. We are not looking to delay the auction. We merely hope that, if the FCC does not change course on its own, the Court will help put the auction back on the track Congress envisioned so that we can quickly achieve a balanced auction that benefits all stakeholders."
Kaplan wrote this blog post explaining the petition and why NAB had no choice but to seek legal redress to protect broadcasters and our tens of millions of viewers.
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at www.nab.org.