FCC Readies Auction Pitch For Broadcasters

The commission hires investment banker Greenhill & Co. to develop financial analysis and explain to broadcasters why participating in the auction might be in their interest.

The FCC has hired an investment banking firm to help develop educational material to use to persuade broadcasters to participate in the agency’s incentive auction next year, clearing the way for the agency to beef up its station outreach efforts later this summer, according to an agency official.

The banking firm tapped, according to the FCC official, is New York-based Greenhill & Co.

Greenhill’s key assignment will be to put together a “book” that explains why participating in the auction might be in a broadcaster’s interest, the FCC official says.

The book will be a “central part” of the outreach, which will have both “one-to-one and one-to-many” components, the official adds.

The first phase of the outreach effort kicks off this week, with the FCC hosting incentive auction webinars for state broadcast associations, the official says.

The FCC decided to seek outside help for the outreach because the financial analysis that broadcasters will need to use to decide whether to cash out of the TV business during the auction is complicated, the official says. “There’s a lot of money involved,” the FCC official adds. “We are hopeful broadcasters are taking a closer look at the opportunities.”


The FCC official went on to say Greenhill was tapped for the project — which offered to pay $150,000 — because its proposal represented the “best value.”

The FCC official says federal procurement regulations bar the agency from disclosing the identities of any other companies that may have offered bids in response to the FCC RFP for the contract.

Greenhill executives had no comment, according to a company spokesman.

Greenhill, according to the company’s website, was established in 1996 by Robert F. Greenhill, a former president of Morgan Stanley and former chairman-CEO of Smith Barney.

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Ellen Samrock says:

June 23, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Unless that “book” contains actual figures and they’re high enough, the FCC should expect broadcasters to ignore it. Those who are members of Preston Padden’s group are already on board with the incentive auction regardless of price. The Commission needs to ascertain how many and who they are and develop their band plan accordingly. That’s probably all the broadcast participants they’re going to get. Plus, as NAB pres. Gordon Smith pointed out, there is a serious trust gap between broadcasters and Tom Wheeler. I don’t see that gap ever closing. Instead a lot broadcasters are digging in and standing firm, vowing not to sell.

Joe Jaime says:

June 23, 2014 at 5:00 pm

None of this will matter unless there is a minimum starting bid that meets expectations…or the broadcasters can “opt out” if the auction does not meet expectations

Kristine Melser says:

June 23, 2014 at 9:29 pm

I love it when investment bankers and Government make all the decisions with little regard for the consumers/viewers. I suppose that is the norm now a days, sadly it is happening everywhere.

Julien Devereux says:

June 24, 2014 at 2:56 pm

And have they done anything whatsoever to see what the people who actually WATCH TV might think? Oh, wait, we’re irrelevant.