The Central Texas College (CTC) Board of Trustees voted today to rescind an earlier decision to repack public broadcasting station KNCT-TV. As part of the broadcast spectrum incentive auction last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was forced to repack the UHF television band by assigning television stations to channels 14-35. KNCT-TV, at Channel 46, is one of the “repacked television stations” that will need to complete a channel move by March 2020.
The Spectrum Act provided $1.75 billion to be expended for reimbursement payments to involuntarily repacked broadcasters. The board decision in April 2017 to participate in the spectrum auction was based on the assumption CTC would receive 100 percent reimbursement for the $4.4 million dollars needed to repack KNCT-TV. At this time, Congress has approved only 60 percent. It is possible the 40 percent will be funded, but the timeline required CTC to begin the repack process prior to finding out if the remaining reimbursement will be approved.
“KNCT-TV is partially funded by Central Texas College and this repack cost would be borne by the college if not reimbursed,” said Yeonopolus. “The administration asked the board to reconsider based on the unknown status of reimbursement and additional upcoming capital and technology improvements that will be necessary over the next several years.”
“Neither the administration nor the CTC board take this decision lightly,” said Jim Yeonopolus, CTC chancellor. “But as good stewards of our financial resources – comprised primarily of student tuition, state funding and property tax revenue – the decision to rescind has been made. KNCT-TV has a long history of innovation, and we will continue that tradition with digital media moving forward.”
Max Rudolph, KNCT-TV station manager, said, “CTC will retain its radio stations and academic department and continue local programming via internet streaming and on the CTC website. We are committed to providing students a laboratory production setting that prepares them for the jobs of the future.”
Based on the board decision today, the administration will make a recommendation for the phase-out of the station, which must take place prior to the repack deadline in 2020. Once KNCT-TV goes off the air, CTC will continue to offer local programming via streaming.
“We expect local cable providers will continue to offer a PBS presence from another provider, as they did when the Baylor University PBS station ceased operation,” said Rudolph.
CTC offers an associate of arts in radio television broadcasting, along with certificates of completion in radio broadcasting, television/radio broadcasting and TV news videography.