FCC Taking Station Auction Pitch on Road

The FCC is about to take its incentive auction financial pitch on the road.

In a blog post, Howard Symons, vice chair of the FCC's incentive auction task force, said the FCC would be following up on an information packet sent last month with more than a dozen road trips by commission staffers covering about 50 TV markets.

The FCC is pitching the high-end value of the auction to broadcasters, using the top opening bids—which will almost certainly drop as some broadcasters vie for the billions at stake—and at a spectrum reclamation figure of 126 MHz, which is higher than most estimates of what the FCC can expect—84 MHz is a more often-cited figure, but some broadcasters think even that is high.

At 84 MHZ, the projected $45 billion the FCC said the auction could bring in at those "ideal" numbers would be reduced by a third, and assuming the bids actually decrease in the reverse auction as planned, the floor's presumably the limit though broadcasters can drop out any time and only be on the hook for their last bid.

Symons said the visits, planned for first quarter 2015—will include town hall meetings (and conference calls and Webinars) and provide more info on opening bid prices and various options, he said—sharing, exiting, moving from a UHF to a VHF. They will also be targeted to the markets where the FCC most needs spectrum, which will primarily be larger markets or adjacent markets.

To check out the cities, click here.

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.