Broadcaster Coalition to FCC: Auction Transparency a Must

A half-dozen Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition members met with FCC staffers this week and came away impressed by the meetings and the prospects for a successful auction, according to an ex parte filing with the commission outlining the meeting, which focused on transparency.

"These meetings have further increased the confidence of our approximately 80 auction-eligible stations that the incentive auction will, in fact, present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to monetize our spectrum and, if we wish, continue our television operations through channel sharing," said the filing. 

The coalition sill has some issues, particularly with how the FCC is planning to calculate interference among stations for repacking and valuation purposes, but it accentuates the positive in the ex parte, saying FCC staffers have been "extraordinarily responsive and accommodating" in their willingness to meet and to find was to "increase broadcaster confidence in the fairness and openness of the auction," which the coalition says depends on the FCC providing "complete visibility" into both the forward and reverse auctions.

The ex parte also gives a little more insight into who some of the coalition members are. The FCC is allowing them to remain unidentified for obvious competitive reasons, though their identities will eventually be revealed—the winners almost immediately, the losers a couple of years following the auction.

According to a footnote in the filing, the meeting participants own both full-power and class A low-power stations, including several in the 10 largest markets.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.