EOBC Opposes Sinclair Challenge to Auction Framework

Broadcasters eyeing a payout from the FCC's incentive auction have asked a federal court to let them weigh in against Sinclair's challenge to that auction.

The Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition (EOBC) has asked the court for leave to intervene. EOBC, which represents 80 broadcasters who may want to give up spectrum at the right price, tells the court it thinks the FCC "provide[s] the necessary framework for fair, market-driven payments to broadcasters—including its members."

Besides, it points out, its members have been making their business plans in good faith based on that FCC framework, which was released in May.

Sinclair argues the auction is illegal and wants the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to vacate that May report and order.

If that happens, said EOBC, it would deprive its members of following through with their participation as planned.

Sinclair has been one of the strongest voices against auction participation and for pushing the FCC to give broadcasters the flexibility to be players in the broadband future without giving up their broadcast spectrum.

EOBC also has issues with the auction, and has petitioned the FCC for a change. But it points out that the FCC invited the petition and its filing was not a complaint, but the continuation of productive dialogue.

The National Association of Broadcasters has also filed suit against the auction, saying it insufficiently protects TV stations in the post-auction repacking. Noncommercial broadcasters have petitioned the FCC to change the order to insure that at least one noncommercial channel is reserved in each market.

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.