FCC's Spectrum Auction Balances Due May 11

Forward auction winning bidders in the FCC's broadcast incentive auction will have to pony up their winning bid amounts by the end of next week.

According to the FCC schedule, all winning bidders must cough up the balance of their payments (each had to make a down payment) by 6 p.m. on May 11 (wire transfers, please, no checks or credit cards). If not in by that date, they will be charged a late fee of an additional 5%, so long as they get it in by May 25. If both deadlines are missed, the bidder will be in default.

It will probably take another three months or so after that, if past auctions are any gauge, before that money changes hands again as the FCC pays broadcasters their winning bid amounts—NBC, for example, is getting $481.6 million for the spectrum of flagship WNBC New York and Telemundo affiliates WWSI Philadelphia and WSNS Chicago, though in each case it will maintain the programming through sharing agreements with duopoly partners.

Broadcasters will be getting about $10 billion, with the rest of the $20 billion going to the treasury, minus auction administration costs and the $1.75 billion post-auction repack fund. 

On the other side of the NBC corporate ledger, forward auction bidder Comcast will have to pay up the balance of its $1.7 billion by next Thursday.

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.