Fox along with Tribune, Univision and Ion met with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, officially acknowledging their interest in selling spectrum in the FCC incentive auction next year by offering suggestions on how the auction should be conducted.
Fox and three other large TV station groups officially declared their interest in selling spectrum in the FCC incentive auction next year, visiting FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and other agency officials last week with advice on how to make the auction most attractive to broadcasters, according to the groups’ description of the meeting filed with the FCC.
Joining Fox were Ion, Univision and Tribune. Together, they said, their TV stations account for more than five billion MHz-pop of spectrum.
The broadcasters said that the just-completed AWS-3 auction, which raised nearly $45 billion, demonstrated the value of “simplicity and clarity” in auction rules.
To encourage broadcasters to offer spectrum for sale, the broadcasters called for the same simplicity and clarity in the rules for the reverse auction the FCC plans to use to buy broadcast spectrum.
That means, the broadcasters said, that the rules should:
–State clearly – prior to the deadline for submission of reverse auction applications – a 126 MHz clearing target.
–Provide greater clarity and transparency with respect to reverse auction pricing, including the “dynamic reserve price” concept introduced in the Auction Comment Public Notice.
–Enhance opportunities for channel sharing through greater flexibility, including the ability to enter into channel sharing arrangements following the conclusion of the auction.
Such actions would make the auction potentially more lucrative for broadcasters.
Executives of Fox and Ion had earlier indicated their interest in participating in the auction, but the Feb. 4 meeting with Wheeler is still significant.
Prior to it, the Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition, comprising mostly companies that have bought stations for the purpose of selling them in the incentive auction, had been alone in arguing for auction rules favorable to broadcasters.
“Our coalition is delighted to see the cavalry coming over the hill to assure a successful auction,” said Coalition Executive Director Preston Padden.