EOBC Offers FCC 1% Solution

Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition has told the FCC that its plan to drop its offering prices to stations in the reverse broadcast incentive auction by 5% in each of the initial rounds, is a bad idea any way you look at it, and one that could "destroy" broadcasters ability to get important information to help them decide what to do.

There are many options, including bidding, dropping out, and changing their election--say from selling out to sharing or moving to a lower channel assignment.

EOBC has suggested 1% drops is better for all concerned, and made that point in a filing to the commission Monday in which it said a 5% drop would result in "inefficient outcomes, compromise the ability of bidders to make rational decisions about participation, and likely hinder the ability of broadcasters to elect the option to move to VHF."

EOBC says that, by contrast, its proposal to drop prices by only 1% per round would "simplify the bidding process, increase opportunities for outcome discovery, result in more exact exit values, and allow bidders to prepare in advance, with full knowledge of the prices that will be offered in each round.”

EOBC concedes that the lesser decrements (the opposite of "increments") would extend the auction "by a couple of weeks," but said that seemed a small price to pay for simplicity and efficiency of the actual auction process.

The National Association of Broadcasters is on the same page with EOBC when it comes to seeking the smaller decrements, according to an association source.

The FCC is scheduled to vote July 26 on an auction procedures public notice, which is like an order in that it will be a final decision on those procedures in advance of the incentive auction, which FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last week said would definitely be happening in early 2016.

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.