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Public stations criticize FCC auction ruling

A Federal Communications Commission decision last week barring noncommercial
broadcasters from seeking licenses on commercial spectrum if for-profit
broadcasters also seek the channels is "very disappointing," said John Lawson,
president of the Association of Public Television Stations.

Compounding the problem, he said, the FCC also ordered public stations to bid
against commercial applicants for low-power translators used to fill in
main-signal coverage gaps.

"Subjecting any public-television station to the auction process is always
going to be a clear loss for the stations," he said.

In 1997, Congress ordered commercial spectrum to be auctioned.

The APTS and National Public Radio are expected to appeal last week's rule

The FCC was forced to draft new requirements for noncommercials that want
spectrum outside of the channels reserved specifically for them because judges
struck down rules requiring them to participate in auctions for full-power
stations two years ago.