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FCC: Broadcasters Can File Anonymously on Spectrum Auctions

The FCC wants broadcasters to know that they can file
anonymous comments on the commission's proposed framework for incentive
spectrum auctions.

In a public notice, the FCC told broadcasters that its rules
allow for anonymous comment so long as they have an attorney of record, and
even without one they can seek a waiver of that requirement.

The legislation creating the auctions recognized that, for
business reasons, broadcasters might not want to signal they were interested in
selling some or all of their spectrum, and so required the FCC not to identify
the bidders publicly.

In that spirit, the FCC recognized that some commenters
might not want to be associated with the issues or questions they raise.

"We want to encourage those broadcasters interested in
auction participation to raise issues of specific concern to them regarding the
incentive auction process so that we may develop a robust record to assist us
in devising auction-related rule," the FCC said in the notice for those
providing comment. "At the same time, we recognize that broadcasters may
have legitimate reasons for not wanting to disclose their potential interest in
reverse auction participation."

It was a reminder, rather than any change of policy. But the
FCC also said it wants commenters to provide enough information so that the
public can gauge where they are coming from policy-wise if not identity-wise.

"We request that any broadcaster filing anonymously
provide sufficient basic information to enable to Commission and the public to
understand and evaluate the positions it takes in its comments. Such
information may include, for example, the market tier in which the station
operates and whether it is network-affiliated or independent."

Former Disney and News Corp. exec and lobbyist for
independent stations Preston Padden is representing some 25 major market
stations who he says have expressed interest in participating in the auction.