The communications players on Capitol Hill are hardly aware of the consequences of the pending broadcast spectrum auction, believes David Smith, Sinclair chairman, president and CEO.
Addressing investors on an earnings call, Smith said the decision-makers in DC are largely in the dark about how the auction and spectrum repackaging will affect the broadcast landscape.
"Lots of issues are starting to creep up to the surface and get attention [about the] terribly negative consequences of this potential auction," he said. "The idea that hundreds, maybe thousands, of low power television stations and translators in this country that reach tens of millions of people, weren't known by Congress that they were going to be wiped out."
Smith said the border markets, such as Detroit, will see the most dramatic changes.
"What's interesting is, you go to the Hill and talk to congressmen about the consequences of the auction in any number of areas around the country, and the congressmen literally are aghast at what's going on because they weren't aware of what's happening," he said. "Whether there's misinformation being floated around on the Hill as to what's going to happen or frankly they didn't understand is unknown. But [every] congressman you sit down with and say, ‘Did you understand this was gonna happen?' would say, ‘We had no idea this was going to happen.'"
Smith hopes the FCC enters the auction process with extreme caution.
"All this stuff that's floating to the surface," he said, "has got be dealt with somehow."
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