Today’s Tech Spotlight on TVNewsCheck focused on the low power TV community and its concern for being squeezed out of a business following the pending spectrum auction and subsequent channel repack.
There was a quote in that piece from Paul Broyles, president of the International Broadcasting Network, which operates 10 low power stations in the state, that may have drawn some readers’ attention. “The International Broadcasting Network believes that going forward with the auction and repacking scheme will be chaotic, will result in the total destruction of the LPTV industry and will lead to the demise of the entire television broadcasting industry.”
It’s a bold statement.
I followed up with Broyles to make sure that’s what he really meant, and he replied to me with 10 reasons why he believes the auction and repack will lead to the end of the television broadcasting industry and gave me permission to publish them on Playout. Here they are:
1) The Commission will be flooded by permit applications as a result of the repack, and it will not have the ability to process them in an expeditious manner.
2) Manufacturers of broadcast transmission equipment will be unable to meet the sudden demand. With manufacturers downsizing, moving overseas or going out of business, it’s already difficult to buy transmitting antennas, connectors and other products that the repack will require.
3) There will not be enough qualified tower crews to serve all the stations that will have to install new antennas. Many tower crews have quit the business.
4) There will not be enough qualified RF engineers to install or retune all the transmitters that will be necessary as a result of the repack. Older RF engineers are retiring at an alarming rate, and there are very few younger people who have any interest or desire to learn the trade.
5) Rebuilding or modifying a transmission facility usually requires approval from various federal, state and local agencies, and those approvals can be difficult to obtain.
6) For stations rebuilding near the Canadian or Mexican border, foreign approval will have to be obtained. Obtaining Mexican approval can take years and often requires that illegal bribes be paid.
7) When a station is off the air for any extended period of time, as will be necessary during the repack, the station’s audience is lost. It’s exceedingly hard to regain a lost audience.
8) When a station is off the air for twelve consecutive months, its license is automatically forfeited.
9) The repack will be so chaotic that viewers will give up on broadcast television and permanently switch to other sources for information and entertainment.
10) As for LPTV, lenders and investors will have no interest in supplying the funds necessary for rebuilding.