Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House amended (10/14/1999)

Community Broadcasters Protection Act of 1999 - Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to prescribe regulations to establish a class A license for qualifying low-power television (LPT) stations. Requires notification of LPT licensees of the requirements for class A designation. Requires requesting licensees to submit to the FCC a certification of eligibility based on the requirements of this Act. Requires the FCC to: (1) grant such certification absent a material deficiency; and (2) resolve technical problems to ensure replication of the full-power digital television applicant's service area pending final application resolution. Allows an LPT station to submit an application for class A designation only within 30 days after final regulations are adopted.

Defines as a qualifying LPT station one which, during the 90 days preceding the date of enactment of this Act: (1) broadcast for at least 18 hours per day; (2) broadcast an average of at least three hours per week of programming that was produced within the market area served by such station or the market area served by a group of commonly controlled stations that carry common local or specialized programming produced within such market area; and (3) complied with other requirements applicable to LPT stations and, after the date of its license application, complies with the FCC's operating rules for full power television stations. Allows the FCC to treat non-qualifying stations as LPT stations under this Act if public interest, convenience, and necessity would be so served.

Provides that: (1) the FCC is not required to issue any additional licenses for advanced television services to the licensees of class A television stations, or to the licensees of any television translator stations; and (2) the FCC shall approve such license applications proposing facilities that will not cause interference to the service area of any other broadcast facility applied for, protected, permitted, or authorized on the date of the filing of the class A advanced television application.

States that nothing in this Act shall preempt Federal provisions concerning the allocation and assignment of new public safety services licenses and commercial licenses.

Prohibits the FCC from granting a class A license to an LPT station operating between 698 and 806 megahertz, but requires the FCC to provide to LPT stations assigned to and temporarily operating within such bandwidth the opportunity to meet the licensing requirements.

Prohibits the FCC from granting a class A license to an LPT station operating on a channel that includes any one of the 175 additional channels referenced within a certain FCC Memorandum of Opinion and Order of Reconsideration. Directs the FCC to identify such channels within 18 months after the enactment of this Act.

Prohibits the FCC from granting a class A license unless the applicant or licensee shows that the station for which such license or modification is sought will not cause interference within the predicted Grade B contour of: (1) other television stations transmitting in analog format, or certain digital service areas, including licensed or authorized LPT stations; or (2) 80 miles from the geographic center of certain listed areas, including the 482-488 megahertz band in New York.