Joint Statement from APTS, CPB and PBS on FCC Broadcast Spectrum Incentive Auction and Repack

Apr 13, 2017


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today the FCC announced the results of the broadcast spectrum incentive auction and the channel reassignment schedule for individual television stations remaining on the air.

America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS are working together to review and analyze the results, with the goal of ensuring that all Americans and their families continue to have access to public media’s educational programs, trusted news and public safety information services.

Our primary concern is that hundreds of public media stations who chose not to participate in the spectrum incentive auction nonetheless will be impacted as a result of the mandatory “repack”. Mandatory repacking requires stations to move to different broadcast channels. In addition, “bystander” television and radio stations, which share towers with stations that are being repacked, face the potential of operating at reduced power for months to ensure the safety of the workers implementing channel changes for other stations. These stations and their audiences are threatened with potentially debilitating service disruptions.

Areas served by low-power transmitting facilities (“TV translators”) may also be affected, with stations facing financial hardship as translators are not covered by FCC reimbursement funds. As a result, there could be loss of universal service for significant number of Americans, especially those who live in rural areas.

We look forward to working with the FCC on this unprecedented operational challenge. A smooth repacking transition, with sufficient time and reimbursement funds, is essential to protecting Americans’ access to public media’s local television and radio content and services.

For the fraction of public television stations earning proceeds from the spectrum auction, by law, all proceeds will go to the nonprofit entity, or state or local governmental body that holds the license for that station. Such licensees are allowed to use the revenue in any nonprofit purpose they choose. These one-time-only proceeds may allow some individual licensees and stations to enhance their local educational mission, increase content and services to their community, and strengthen their financial foundation. It is important to note that the national public media organizations will not receive spectrum auction proceeds. 

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About APTS

America's Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization ensuring a strong and financially sound public television system and helping member stations provide essential public services in education, public safety and civic leadership to the American people. For more information, visit

About CPB

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of nearly 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

About PBS

PBS, with nearly 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 100 million people through television and nearly 33 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website,, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.


Stacey Karp, APTS​, 202-654-4222,

Tish King, CPB, 202-879-9658,

Jennifer Byrne, PBS, 703-739-5487, or Aparna Kumar, PBS, 703-739-5028,