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FCC Streamlines Reauthorization Process for TV Satellite Sations 


March 12, 2019

The Federal Communications Commission today eliminated unnecessary regulatory expense and delay by streamlining the process for reauthorizing television satellite stations when they are assigned or transferred.  As a result of the vote adopting this item, the proposal will be removed from the agenda of the FCC’s March Open Meeting. 

Television satellite stations are full-power terrestrial broadcast stations that generally retransmit some or all of the programming of a parent station.  Stations that the Commission has authorized as satellites are excepted from the broadcast ownership limits, most notably the local television ownership rule.  If a satellite station is assigned or transferred to another owner and the new owner wishes to continue operating the station as a satellite, the new owner must seek reauthorization, a process that until today required the same evidentiary showing necessary for an initial authorization.  

Today’s action reduces the costs and burdens of this reauthorization process by permitting assignment and transfer applicants to use streamlined procedures when there has been no material change in the underlying circumstances supporting the satellite station’s existing authorization.  To make a streamlined showing, applicants must: (1) certify that the underlying circumstances supporting the satellite’s existing authorization have not materially changed, and (2) provide a copy of the most recent written Commission decision granting the existing satellite authorization.  Any parties that object to a reauthorization request will have the same opportunities as before to file a petition to deny or informal comments. 

Action by the Commission March 11, 2019 by Report and Order (FCC 19-17).  Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly, Carr, Rosenworcel, Starks approving.  Commissioner O’Rielly  issuing a separate statement.


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