All those TV station employees wondering whether they dodged a bullet in the 2017 broadcast incentive auction can now search for that info, which shows that there were 858 stations willing to give up spectrum, or a little under half of the 1,800 stations the FCC was interested in getting bids from. Those 858 bids totaled a whopping $187,391,861,235.
They would cover LPTV, TV translator and FM stations. The action implements the 2018 Reimbursement Expansion Act.
The University of South Florida’s WUSF Tampa, Fla., is donating its license to another Tampa noncommercial station, Florida West Coast Public Broadcasting’s WEDU, which will change the former station’s call letters to WEDQ and continue to air its programs.
The FCC has, for the first time, approved an application for the assignment of the license of a television station that agreed to relinquish its spectrum in the Broadcast Television Incentive Auction but has not yet commenced channel sharing.
WJAL To Go Dark Following Spectrum Auction
Hagerstown, Md.-based independent WJAL will stop broadcasting at midnight Saturday because the Entravision Communications station’s bandwidth was purchased by the federal government for $26.7 million in the FCC’s incentive auction.
What Happens Next For Tegna?
WQED Board Extols Fund Increase Through Auction
The incentive auction’s second priority window for all full-power and Class A television stations will open Oct. 3 and close at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Nov. 2. A guide on what applicants should know.
Noncom WUSF To Go Dark On Oct. 15
The Tampa, Fla., PBS outlet owned by the University of South Florida will go off the air following the sale of its spectrum for $18.7 million in the FCC’s incentive auction. The school’s two FM stations will remain on the air.
Auction Payments Coming In Next Few Days
The FCC has directed the U.S. Department of Treasury to pay all broadcasters who had winning bids in the recently concluded spectrum incentive auction. The only exceptions are those broadcasters that failed to submit sufficient banking information to the FCC for payment to be made. Since the FCC does not control the actual release of funds, it indicates it will deem the amounts as paid five business days from the release of yesterday’s Public Notice (i.e, July 27). Any broadcaster expecting to be paid that is not listed in the attachment to the Public Notice will want to promptly fix any issues with its banking information so that it too can receive payment.
The FCC today announced it is ready to pay winners in the reverse auction to clear 600 MHz spectrum. According to a public notice issued by the agency this afternoon, commission staff has directed the U.S. Treasury to make payments to the stations. Those stations are the auction winners that have provided the government with the banking information it needs to make payment.
TVN: Stations’ Repack Expenses To Hit $2B
Moving nearly 1,000 TV stations in the TV repack will cost around $2 billion, according to TVNewsCheck’s review of nearly 500 individual cost estimates filed by stations at the FCC. Counting another $200 million or so in costs from MVPDs, the total cost of the channel migration figures to be at least $2.2 billion, $450 million more than the $1.75 billion that Congress has currently allocated.
Post-Auction M&A Needn’t Be Too Taxing
Despite the recent spectrum auction’s results coming in far below original estimates, station owners did sell spectrum and will be facing capital gains taxes on the proceeds. Here is a look at some of the tax considerations that can influence how broadcasters can structure post-auction transactions.
Wireless carrier T-Mobile has big plans for its newly acquired 600 MHz spectrum — a nationwide 5G network deployment by 2020. However, there’s a hitch. The repack of the TV band needed to clear the spectrum for wireless use won’t be finished until the middle of that year. So, the wireless carrier is trying to speed up the repack by enticing some stations to move their new channels earlier than required.
While the FCC will open a limited window for displaced LPTV and translator stations to apply to operate on new channels, some stations may be forced off the air before the application window opens, which could potentially deprive tens of thousands of viewers of access to local TV signals as a result, NAB says.
$10M Zombie Station Sale Withdrawn
The seller of the spectrumless license and assets of KBEH Los Angeles to Meruelo Television for $10 million pulls the FCC application seeking approval of the deal after the agency asks for public comment on it. KBEH sold its spectrum in the FCC incentive auction.
FCC Should Dismiss T-Mobile Repack Claims
NAB’s Patrick McFadden: T-Mobile “has a small problem with accuracy, or what some might call the truth. Let’s not forget that T-Mobile is the company that went to absurd lengths in stomping its magenta sneakers about the need for the FCC to set aside spectrum in the incentive auction for everyone not named AT&T and Verizon, going so far as to come up with the world’s most pathetic superhero movie to try to make its point.”
Hero Licenseco LLC, which sold the spectrum of KBEH Los Angeles for $146.6 million in the FCC incentive auction, now has a deal to sell that station’s spectrumless TV license with its must-carry rights to KWHY Los Angeles,
Jean Kiddoo has been named chair of the Incentive Auction Task Force, succeeding the retiring Gary Epstein, while Hillary DeNigro is appointed deputy chair.
WNYB Owner Gets $32 Million From Auction
Faith Broadcasting, the owner of the religious formatted WNYB Buffalo, N.Y., is receiving about $32 million from the FCC for its ch. 26 UHF spectrum. It will move to VHF ch. 5.
Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network will receive $32.6 million in auction proceeds through a complex three-way spectrum deal involving two of its stations — WEDY in New Haven and WEDW in Bridgeport. Both stations will continue broadcasting under channel-sharing arrangements, though details are confidential due to a non-disclosure agreement. Spectrum relinquished by WEDY, which will share channels with WEDW, generated $18.9 million, according to the FCC’s April 13 announcement of auction results.
In opposing lawsuits, the spectrum speculator and the noncommercial station in the San Francisco market accuse each other for the failure of their joint effort to sell the station in the FCC incentive auction.
The FCC announced that it is appointing 10 commission employees to serve as “Regional Coordinators” to help ensure a “smooth and efficient post-auction transition.” These coordinators will each have a geographic region to which they are assigned. They will keep in touch with the television stations affected by the repacking in their area to assess them stations progress in complying with the required channel moves and to assist where possible in smoothing issues that may arise in that process.
Once again, TVNewsCheck’s tech guru Phil Kurz has emerged from the depths of Excel — this time with the corrected version of our chart of old and new channel assignments originally posted on Friday, April 14. “I want to thank everyone for sending comments to point out problems with the initial version. As I mentioned when I posted it, I knew there would be errors. I believe you will find this version to be much improved.” It’s available as a downloadable PDF here.
Post-Auction TV Won’t Be That Different
While a number of broadcasters made some big bucks in the incentive auction and almost 1,000 will have to change frequencies in the spectrum repack, when the dust settles the industry probably won’t look much different than it does today.
Our Phil Kurz pored through FCC’s “Final Television Channel Assignment Information Related To Incentive Auction Repacking” and extracted only the stations changing channel assignments from the entire table of allotments.Here they are in a downloadable PDF.
Of the $19,768 billion in gross proceeds bid in the auction, those two companies alone accounted for some $14.2 billion — or approximately 72% — of the winning bids. Other major winners in the auction included Comcast, which spent $1,724 billion.
The biggest spenders in the FCC’s $19.8 billion TV spectrum incentive auction were T-Mobile with $8 billion, satellite TV company Dish Network at $6.2 billion and Comcast with $1.7 billion.
KOCE To Expand Service With Auction Money
The Los Angeles PBS outlet will continue on air, channel sharing with KSCI, and use its $49 million in auction proceeds to increase investment in PBS and other programming; invest in content production and broadband services on mobile and the web; restructure debt; and create an investment fund that generates annual revenues.
It sells three stations — WNBC New York and Telemundo WSNS Chicago and WWSI Philadelphia. Their signals will all channel share with other NBC-owned stations in the markets. Fox and CBS also sold spectrum.
The commission releases details on the incentive auction results. More than $10 billion will go to 175 winning broadcasters that elected to participate in the incentive auction and repurpose their airwaves for mobile use. Of the non-participating stations, 957 will have to change channels.
WHTV Going Dark As Result Of Auction
WHTV, a MyNetworkTV affiliate serving Jackson and Lansing, Mich., owned by Venture Technologies Group, has announced it will go off the air at the end of the month. The announcement, posted on the station’s website home page, says WHTV will cease broadcasting at midnight on Sunday, April 30.
The FCC’s long-running, multi-stage effort to auction spectrum currently used by broadcasters is finally over: Bidders today found out who won specific blocks of the precious airwaves; the FCC is expected to announce the results in April.
Each station licensee that successfully bid to relinquish some or all of its spectrum in the reverse auction will receive a share of auction proceeds based on its winning bid. Before the commission can distribute incentive payments, a winning bidder must certify its agreement, acknowledge specified payment terms and provide information on where the incentive payment should be made.
It tells the FCC that some details of the plan to move stations to their new channels “have exacerbated challenges inherent in the repack, putting viewers at risk and potentially causing unnecessary harm to broadcasters. Many of these decisions are simply irreversible at this point. Nevertheless, the commission still has an opportunity to take steps to develop and implement a transition plan that treats all stakeholders fairly and protects viewers and listeners from service disruptions.”
On the Hill this morning at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, the FCC chairman told lawmakers they would have to ask the White House if they wanted to know what was said at his two meetings with President Trump. However, he said he has had no contact with any administration official about companies with business before the FCC and he pledged to maintain the independence of the agency. Pai also side-stepped comment on Trump’s assertions that CNN and Big Three networks’ news divisions were the “enemy of the America public.” Pai and the other two commissioners discussed the post-auction repack of the TV band, suggesting they would oppose forcing stations off the air for failing to meet the deadline for moving to new channels.
The March 13 session at the FCC’s Washington headquarters will offer an overview of the incentive auction; reviews of the procedures for broadcast stations filing applications for construction permits during the 39-month transition period; procedures for submitting bank account information to ensure payment of reverse auction winnings and reimbursement of eligible expenses; plus a Q&A session with FCC staff.
OSU’s WPBO Goes For $8.8M In Auction
Ohio State University has sold its WPBO for $8.8 million in the FCC’s broadcast spectrum auction. WPBO serves southern Ohio and a western portion of West Virginia. It overlaps with WOUB in Athens, Ohio; WCET, Cincinnati; WKAS, Ashland, Ky.; and WVPB in Huntington, W.Va.
Entravision: Rev Up, Gets $264M In Auction
The fourth quarter TV revenue grew 9% to $43.4 million, boosted by political ad dollars.
Station Zombies Afoot In Post-Auction World
They have FCC licenses, programming contracts and everything else you need to be a broadcaster, except spectrum, having sold it in the FCC’s incentive auction. So, now they are looking to find spectrum somewhere else or sell off their remaining assets in a second post-auction payday. There’s opportunity too for living broadcasters who wish to channel-share or lease the zombies a subchannel.