FCC: Stations Must Fix Spectrum Auction Applications by Feb. 26

Broadcasters, and their attorneys, have a new incentive auction hard deadline to worry about.

Broadcasters who applied to participate in the auction but whose applications are in some way incomplete or defective should have already gotten a confidential letter from the FCC—they were sent out Feb. 12.

Those station owners have until Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. to correct their applications but must do it online (no hard copy amendments will be accepted).

Sounding a bit like stern teachers outlining an assignment, the FCC's Wireless Bureau and Incentive Auction Task Force made it clear that if the dog ate their application homework, stations would be out of luck. 

"Late resubmissions will not be accepted," they said in a public notice, then went on to drive home the consequences. "If an application is deemed incomplete after the resubmission deadline has passed, the applicant will not be permitted to make an initial commitment with respect to any of its selected station(s). If the application is deemed incomplete as to any particular station the applicant will not be able to make an initial commitment for that station. An applicant that does not make an initial commitment cannot become qualified to bid in the clock rounds of the reverse auction."

Stations can take the opportunity to make minor changes to their applications while repairing them but are warned that the FCC will review them, and it could change the status of the application.

After the FCC has reviewed the revised applications, those stations will get a second confidential letter and only those who have successfully repaired them and whose applications are deemed complete can participate in the auction.

Eligible participants must commit to their opening price and preferred relinquishment option—give up spectrum and exit the business; give up spectrum and share spectrum with another station; move to a lower channel position (UHF to VHF or high V to low) if that is an option.

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.