Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) spoke up for low power television at the 12/12/12 hearing on incentive auctions, seeking protection for the service many believe to be at risk. The Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance welcomed Barton’s support.
During the Communications Subcommittee hearing, Barton said, “I didn’t envision that we would have the end result that a low-power television station would simply end up off the air. And so, I would like to ask the (FCC) Chairman and the other Commissioners if, in fact, you are willing to commit that low-power television stations that have acted in good faith — they understand that they might have to move, or be repacked — but I personally believe it’s not fair at all if the end result is that a low-power television station, that has been a good licensee, ends up totally off the air.”
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the fate of LPTV was as yet undetermined. “We will work with the LPTV Community,” he said. “We have an obligation, as has come up a number of times, to act within the statute. Certainly, keeping LPTV stations on-the-air where we can is something that makes sense, but at this point we haven’t made a proposal on this; we have an obligation to listen to the record, act consistent with the statute and we’ll continue to work with you, and the other members of the Committee, and the LPTV community to ultimately reach the goals of the statute some of which as you pointed out are in tension with each another.”
The Alliance said it understands that LPTVs are secondary to full power and Class A stations, and accepts that it will not receive all of the same benefits, such as the option to participate in auctions or to be reimbursed for expenses incurred if forced to change channels.
However, it wants the continuing existence of each LPTV to be guaranteed.
“The Alliance especially thanks Congressman Barton for speaking up for LPTV operators around the nation that have been asking the question about their future,” stated Lee Miller, Alliance Communications Director. “Thousands of communities stand to lose their local community channels, many of them “mom and pop” and minority broadcasters if the FCC is allowed to confiscate their channels without recourse. If the FCC has an open ear, it needs to hear from the LPTV industry.”