Rural Legislators Seek FCC Protection of LPTV, Translators

Want Answer from FCC by End of July on How They Will Do That in Incentive Auctions 7/19/2013 1:23 PM Eastern

Almost five dozen legislators (a total of 57) representing "rural and mountainous" areas of the country have written acting FCC chair Mignon Clyburn saying the FCC needs to tell them how the upcoming incentive auctions are going to impact those who rely on low-power TV stations and translators.

And they want an answer "before the FCC proceeds with any plans that could adversely affect our constituents in rural America."

The signatories, which included the chair and ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, were almost evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, but united in their concern for rural constituents, who rely on translators -- which extend TV station signals to hard-to-reach areas, and low-power stations that provide niche service to rural areas.

"[W]e encourage the FCC to do all it can to ensure viewers do not lose access to important broadcast programming through rural translators and low power television stations," the legislators said. They want an answer by July 31.

The National Association of Broadcasters, which provided a copy of the letter, agreed. "Rural broadcasters often provide the only lifeline to local news, weather and emergency information for millions of Americans in isolated communities," said NAB president Gordon Smith. "NAB applauds lawmakers for their support and recognition of the enduring value of broadcast television to rural areas."

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