Latina Broadcasters Files 'Friend of Neither' Amicus Brief on Spectrum Auction

Latina Broadcasters, which has asked the court to stay its decision not to allow its LPTV station to participate in the auction or stay the auction itself, has filed a friend of the court (amicus) brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in a separate auction-related stay request from LPTV owners Videohouse et. al., but in this case it is the friend of neither Videohouse nor the FCC.

Latina wants the court to treat its stay as a separate case and not deny Latina's request if it denies Videohouse's.

Its key points are that while the FCC did not include Videohouse et al. in its list of eligible stations—the FCC has said that list was always provisional—it did include Latina. It also points out that the case is different on the merits—Latina is asserting denial of due process, for one thing—and that Latina is "primarily" seeking a stay of the FCC order denying it participation (and only absent that delaying the start of the auction), while Videohouse has sought a stay of the auction.

In its filing, Videohouse associated itself with Latina, saying the FCC had found it "similarly situated" in the Feb. 12 order denying both of them entry to the auction. But Latina says in the brief that it only asserted the similarity "in an apparent attempt to benefit from the FCC’s obvious mistreatment of Latina’s station, WDYB-CD," but that is a misapprehension of the FCC's treatment of WDYB.

They point out that the FCC told Latina on seven different occasions over nine months it was auction eligible before telling it at the last minute it was not. The FCC said it had been a mistake to put WDYB on the list, which Videohouse cited, but Latina says it was no mistake.

In addition to denial of due process, Latina says another difference in the stay requests is that it is asserting discrimination given that the FCC allowed a station that was similarly situated, KHTV, into the auction. Videohouse also sites KHTV, but Latina says Videohouse and KHTV are not similar.

The FCC denied stay requests by both Latina and Videohouse.

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.