Skip to main content

FCC Still Not Reserving Noncommercial Channel in Each Market

Despite pushback from noncommercial broadcasters and some phone calls from the Hill, according to a source familiar with the calls, the FCC's is still proposing not to guarantee at least one noncommercial channel reservation in each market after the incentive auction.

That is part of a number of rejections of petitions to reconsider the incentive auction framework that the FCC plans to vote on at its public meeting this week (June 18).

Multiple sources inside and outside the FCC said, that as far as they knew, the item still denies the request by the Association of Public Television Stations, PBS and CPB for at least one noncommercial channel in each market after the auction—in case, as expected, some noncoms give up their spectrum for auction. Without that set-aside, they warned, it could adversely impact minority communities and others reliant on over-the-air TV.

FCC staffers have been arguing the channel set-asides would complicate the auction, said one source familiar with conversations with those staffers, though it would be hard to make it any more complicated than it already is. The auction has been variously described as a Rubik's cubeful of moving parts and the most complicated auction in FCC history.

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.