April 2020

COVID-19 Spectrum Repack Update

As with almost every facet of life and business in the U.S., the current Phase 9 of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) spectrum repack, which kicked off March 14 and ends May 1, 2020, has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic has also impacted the final Phase 10. Of the 88 stations scheduled to change frequencies in Phase 9, 31 have requested to move to Phase 10. Many stations are delaying their transition to ensure there aren’t any interruptions in their broadcast capabilities during this national crisis.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) recognizes that stations are doing everything possible to maintain their commitment to their viewers and to their communities during this difficult time and is here to help and advocate on your behalf. Here’s what broadcasters need to know regarding the impact of COVID-19 and the remaining two phases of the spectrum repack.

1.  If you need an extension, ask now.
Don’t delay putting in a request to extend your transition date. NAB has requested that any station currently scheduled for Phase 9 of the repack be allowed to move to Phase 10. The FCC has agreed and the Public Notice, which includes details on how to make the request, can be found here.

2.  Relief for broadcasters is included in the national stimulus package and NAB has developed resources to help your station access it.
The CARES Act, a $2 trillion stimulus package, was signed into law on March 27 and NAB fought for several of the key tax relief, small business and lending programs that were included in the bill. More information can be found at and in the User’s Guide for Broadcasters to the CARES Act, which will help you understand how your station is impacted.

NAB members may reach out to or call the NAB Member Concierge at (202) 775-2555 with questions or concerns regarding the stimulus.

3. If you’ve been promoting a specific rescan day and anticipate not making that deadline, update your station communications as soon as possible.

Please remember to keep your audiences informed on air, through your website and social media, especially if your Rescan Day has changed. Following is a sample message you can use for this update:

Our station’s Rescan Day may be delayed as we remain on the air to provide you with important COVID-19 updates. Stay tuned to [station] for more information.

Additionally, send these date changes to NAB at so we can ensure the consumer resources on remain up to date.  

4. Our work is still going strong.
As Congress considers additional COVID-19 stimulus and relief measures, NAB is continuing to advocate for more support for TV and radio stations. You can learn more about how NAB is continuing to fight for station relief in the forthcoming stimulus bill and what we’re asking Congress to provide at this link.

5. Let us know if you are currently or planning to operate at low power.

If your station has to operate at low power, NAB can help you spread the word so that consumers know what to expect. Reach out to us at and we’ll share your news via the TV Answers consumer communications platforms. 

Quick Links

Let's Hear From Viewers

We all know how people like to engage with Facebook. Here is a sampling of recent viewer comments that provides a sense of what people are saying, asking, and in some cases, requesting assistance with on the TV Answers Facebook page.

Rescanning was a little bit of a chore in central Illinois. All things considered, I have all my channels still. – John C.

If u have problems, move the antenna a bit one way or another..Thats what I do when I have to rescan – Rosemary C.

In my area most of the local channels are repacking and have been broadcasting on lower power the past few weeks until the repack date when a rescan is necessary (in my case, March 13) causing that problem. – Chris H.

I just did that Monday, now I have 25.1-25.12 in addition to my regular antenna channels!! Yay me! – Dustye D.

I am getting 85 channels on my antenna. I guess it helps that I used to fix tv transmitters built mine from scratch. – Patricia B.

Click here for suggested social media posts to inform your viewers when to rescan.

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On-air and Digital Tools

  • Talking points
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  • Sample social media posts and graphics
  • Customizable spots that instruct viewers how to rescan their TVs or converter boxes
TVAnswers Resources

Help us help you. If you have questions or information to share with NAB or other stations, please email us at

Click here to add your contact information to stay informed, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates. You can also connect with us using #PlanToRescan to share what you’re doing to inform your audiences about rescanning.

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