Under the provisions of the Public Broadcasting Act, CPB makes grants to eligible public television and radio stations through the Community Service Grant (CSG) program in a manner intended to provide for the needs and requirements of stations so that they may serve their local communities and audiences; and
CPB management has undertaken a review of TV CSG policy in consultation with a TV CSG Review Panel of public television station representatives who have considered the implications of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) upcoming Broadcast Spectrum Incentive Auction; and
Public television licensees need to know how the relinquishment of some or all of a licensee's spectrum and the receipt of auction proceeds will affect their CSGs in order to make informed decisions about whether and how to participate in the auction;
CPB management, having considered the recommendations of the TV CSG Review Panel, has presented proposed policy changes to the CPB Board's Broadcast Spectrum Committee,
The CPB Broadcast Spectrum Committee has considered and endorsed management's proposed changes with amendments and has presented them to the CPB Board of Directors;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED
That the Board of Directors approves the changes to CSG policy as outlined in the attached.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED
That the Board directs CPB management to takes steps to communicate the following statement regarding transparency to stations:
Public media licensees have an ethical obligation to their communities to conduct their activities in a transparent and accountable manner, consistent with legal and confidentiality obligations. Because public media licensees hold spectrum in trust for the public, CPB expects those whose planned participation in the Spectrum Auction would significantly reduce or terminate their level of service to their community to exercise transparency and to solicit public comment and recommendations as appropriate.
2015 TV CSG Policy Changes Related to the Broadcast Spectrum Auction as Adopted by the CPB Board of Directors on April 14, 2015
AUCTION REVENUE DOES NOT QUALIFY AS NFFS
Any revenues received by stations resulting from the Spectrum Auction, including interest and dividends earned on auction revenues, will not be eligible as NFFS.
AUCTION REVENUE AND THE CSG PROGRAM
No additional policy change is recommended. By restricting all auction revenue from NFFS eligibility, CPB is already taking important steps to ensure an equitable CSG policy.
MINIMUM TECHNICAL STANDARD FOR CSG ELIGIBILITY
In a channel sharing agreement between two public television stations, each CSG-eligible station will maintain its CSG eligibility. When a licensee has the right to use less than half of the capacity of the shared channel, its CSG may be adjusted.
In a channel sharing agreement between a public television station and a commercial station, the CSG-eligible station must have the right to use at least one-half of the total capacity of the shared channel.
In both cases the agreements may provide flexibility to allow stations to use more or less bandwidth at a given time, depending on the content being aired - a process called dynamic multiplexing - to optimize technical quality of all transmissions over the shared channel.
LICENSE RELINQUISHMENT AND RETURN OF CSG FUNDS
A grantee that relinquishes its license in the Spectrum Auction and ceases broadcast operations entirely will be required to return all CSG funds from any open grant period. The exceptions are in cases where two grantees merge, or where a licensee holds multiple stations and at least one of its stations is CSG-eligible and continues to broadcast.