Spectrum Sellers Blast FCC Pricing Plan

The Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition says "the commission’s proposal to manage the prices paid to broadcasters by 'scoring' stations is driving broadcasters away from the auction. And, the ... plan is inconsistent with the Spectrum Act, which provides for the prices to be received by broadcasters to be determined by the market forces of the auction...."

The group of broadcasters hoping to cash in its spectrum during the FCC’s incentive auction next year is complaining that the FCC apparently plans to set prices of spectrum by “scoring” or evaluating stations using its own criteria.

“It is universally acknowledged that widespread broadcaster participation is the indispensible key to a successful auction,” the Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition says in informal comments filed with the commission today.

“The commission’s proposal to manage the prices paid to broadcasters by ‘scoring’ stations is driving broadcasters away from the auction. And, the … plan is inconsistent with the Spectrum Act, which provides for the prices to be received by broadcasters to be determined by the market forces of the auction….”

Under the law, the FCC has no authority to set prices, particularly on the basis of a station’s population coverage, it says.

“If the commission offers a station with less population coverage a lower value, it could cause that station to forego auction participation, notwithstanding the fact that the station will greatly hinder the agency’s repacking efforts,” it says.

“Already, the prospect of such scoring is causing some stations to rethink their plans to participate in the auction.”

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Comments (5)

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Allyson Mongrain says:

March 26, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Too bad the quick money boys might actually have to run their stations, did anyone really think the FCC was going to offer a any real money vs. selling advertising?

Michael Lam says:

March 26, 2013 at 3:59 pm

This is a gift to the wireless industry executives who want the spectrum – it’ll save them countless millions of dollars: it’s no surprise considering the FCC’s loaded with wireless industry staff.

Ellen Samrock says:

March 26, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I detect some disharmony in the speculator ranks. Who would actually be complaining about the spectrum compensation from the auction being based on market scoring except those who own stations in markets that are worth less? Would a company who owns a full power station in market #2 worth 76 million be happy to see someone who owns a Class A in market #8 worth 9 million receive the same compensation? I don’t think so. We may not being seeing it with this bunch of bananas calling themselves the Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition but I don’t think everyone in the group favors this equal compensation jazz.

Marcelo Gama says:

March 27, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Michael Dell for one, wouldn’t like this plan.

Robert Vincent says:

March 27, 2013 at 3:09 pm

The first national network I see selling all their licenses across the USA is ION Television. They stand to make $100 million in one fell swoop considering they own 60 stations. Look for further savings for the network as they will let go 30 or more engineers, and an add few dozen station managers and maybe operators. ION has been consolidating its workforce in order to maximize the hedge fund returns. So far, it has worked, but it needs to consolidate way more per station to make it work. Consolidating the engineering and station management work is the best thing they can do after selling all of their broadcast licenses.


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