NAB: FCC Moving Too Fast On Auction

Association executives brief reporters on the group’s formal comments to the FCC on its incentive auction plans. CEO Gordon Smith emphasizes: “This should not be done in a rush; it should be done with deliberate speed; it’s more important to get this done right than to get it done right now.” NAB vows to protect stations that choose not to participate and fight to preserve the coverage and population areas of stations that are forced to move.

Top executives of the National Association of Broadcasters today repeated association concerns that the FCC’s plan to hold its incentive spectrum auction next year may be overly ambitious — and they vowed to protect the rights of the vast majority of the nation’s more than 1,700 TV stations that choose to remain in broadcasting after the auctions are completed.

“This should not be done in a rush; it should be done with deliberate speed; it’s more important to get this done right than to get it done right now,” said Gordon Smith, NAB president, during a news conference at which the association released the executive summary of the formal comments that association is fileed at the FCC Friday afternoon (read the comments here).

“We think the direction given to the FCC by Congress gives those non-volunteers — those broadcasters of today and tomorrow — the protections they need, and those are the protections we’re focused on going forward,” Smith said, adding that he was personally unaware of a single NAB member who is “volunteering to go out of the business.”

Smith also said the association’s comments would focus on concerns about resolving international interference issues that will be raised by moving broadcasters off their existing channels in the border areas near Canada and Mexico; the FCC’s plans to move broadcasters who opt to remain in the business to new channels after the auctions; and the agency’s plan to divide TV spectrum into channels for the broadcasters and the wireless companies that win the rights to spectrum in the wake of the auctions.

“Those are the three stepping stones that can be pretty hot,” Smith said.

In its executive summary, the NAB also said that its comments would focus on the reimbursement funding that broadcasters who are forced to move channels — estimated by NAB at about $3 million per station — are supposed to receive from the FCC.

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“Repacking is critical to achieving a positive outcome both for the auction and the future strength and innovative capacity of the broadcast industry,” the executive summary said, adding that NAB wants the FCC to publicly vet its repacking methodology.

The NAB also said the association would focus on ensuring that the FCC made “all reasonable efforts” to preserve the coverage and population areas of stations that are forced to move.

NAB EVP Rick Kaplan said: “We’re under no illusions that broadcasters that don’t participate will be better off, but at the very least we will be in there to make sure that broadcasters that don’t participate aren’t harmed.”


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Joanne McDonald says:

January 25, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I’m seen to know how to understand the entire spectrum situation. I would take a bet that Daystar, Trinity, Ion and all the other religious and minor broadcast network plus all the diginets multicast networks would round up being regulated to cable only network that would be made available to customers with FTA systems and be made available on all cable systems as well as on both Directv and Dish Network and also be allowed to stream their programming online for internet users at no cost. I like the idea in which NBC stations on 1080 share their channel with Telemundo on 480 in widescreen, CBS stations on 1080 sharing with CW on 1080 in widescreen, FOX stations on 720 sharing with MyNET on 720 in widescreen, Univision and Telefutura share a channel together on either 480, 720, or 1080 in widescreen, and ABC would continue to not have to worry about sharing their stations with another network or another station and still on 720 in widescreen, but could likely share it with other network affiliated channels on either 480, 720, or 1080 in widescreen. PBS stations would likely be forced to merged and share it’s stations on the same channel frequency and still be able to transmit in 1080 widescreen. The stronger PBS stations would end up sharing the channel space with the weaker PBS stations in markets where there are multiple PBS affiliates in the same market. The mid-sized and smaller TV markets could end up carrying 2 to 3 subchannel feeds in widescreen SDTV or HDTV on the same channel frequency. I would recommend that all the TV stations that are now on the UHF 14-51 band in digital that were on 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 in analog be forced to move on 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 in digital and all the TV stations that are now on the UHF 14-51 band in digital that were on 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30 in analog be forced to move back to those channels in digital plus all the TV stations that are now on the VHF 7-13 high band with different RF physical channel numbers on the VHF high band in digital that were on 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 in analog to be forced to move back to those channels in digital as the best way to not mess up on frequency assignments in the future maybe by around 2020. I like the idea of all the TV stations be allowed to transmit all HDTV and SDTV as well as mobile programming in the MPEG 4 format in the future maybe by around 2020. I like the idea of both IVI TV and FilmOn HDi be allowed to go in business again and be able to transmit all the local stations to the viewers on the net for free without any interference from the government for violating any copyright laws with benefits for online viewers that want to watch their favorite stations programming such as local news and shows even after the spectrum auction and plan becomes very mandated and very hard for TV stations to be able to stay on the air without being able to stream all their programming online to the viewers online. Me wanting IVI TV and FilmOn HDi transmitting the locals online for free to the viewers on the internet would be very beneficial when it comes to very severe weather outbreaks and breaking news that the viewers would want to be very informed the sooner and the better as a public service to all online users and all television stations in the future. I’m afraid that my take of what channels the TV stations ought to be on with the planning of an spectrum auction. Thank you for my understanding to this crisis in the TV business lately as it relates to the spectrum crunch going on right now. My comment to this matter is not a negative attack but a opinion and theory on my own terns to the spectrum auction in the future.

Ellen Samrock says:

January 25, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Genachowski wants it done before he leaves the FCC. Speed is all that matters to him.

susan auerbach says:

January 25, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Call it what you will, for the LPTV owners this is outright confiscation. Shame on you Obama and Genachowski!

    Warren Harmon says:

    January 31, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    “Ditto”

Warren Harmon says:

January 31, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Only a FOOL would volunarily give up their spectrum, let’s keep it togeather guys and hold the FCC’s feet to the fire. oBAMa SUCKS!


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