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Auction action for Paxson

The FCC last week refused a cellular-industry request for a sixth delay in the auction of spectrum used for TV ch. 52-69.

Cellular companies expected to buy the frequencies said the bidding should be postponed from June 19 because it is unclear when TV stations will vacate the spectrum and an open-ended handoff will depress bids.

The FCC countered that Congress is aware of the potential for low bids and has not moved the deadline nor imposed tougher clearance rules on broadcasters. Companies seeking to participate in the sale must apply by May 8.

The decision was a victory for Bud Paxson, who has 19 stations on the 60-69 band and has been pushing hard against any more delays.

But Paxson is fighting an assault by fellow broadcasters over his plans to negotiate early-buyout deals from wireless companies that acquire rights to his spectrum.

The Association for Maximum Service Television is asking the FCC to deny Paxson Communications' request to relocate analog stations on ch. 60-69 to the outlets' respective digital allotments at lower frequencies.

Because of differences between analog and digital signal footprints, nearly all requests by Paxson and another company, Hour of Harvest Inc., violate FCC distance separation and interference rules, MSTV said.