With the passing of the Jan. 23 deadline for stations to file their post-auction sharing agreements, seek more time to strike those pacts or go off the air, the breakout of just what stations wound up doing with their spectrum, and their future, has become clearer, according to public information on the FCC website. By that reckoning, 37 of the TV stations that won bids to get off their spectrum ultimately decided to go off their air.
The FCC did not require TV stations originally opting to channel-share to actually do so, as they were only bidding to move off their spectrum. Whether they kept their license and shared or turned it in was up to them.
Some key final figures from the auction:
175: Stations that were winning auction bidders.
174: Stations that have been paid. (At press time, WLNN in Boone, N.C., was still putting together the correct paperwork to get its payout.)
92: Stations that filed channel-sharing agreements.
30: Stations moving from the UHF to the VHF bands.
31: Stations that have gotten waivers of the Jan. 23 deadline of either having sharing agreements or going off the air.
25: Winning bidders that signaled they would share spectrum rather than go off the air, or at least reserved that option, but have instead opted to go dark.
14: Winners that signaled they would share and have sought a waiver of the deadline for filing their channel-sharing agreements and construction permits.
12: Stations that won bids to go off the air and did so by October 2017.
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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.