Spectrum Demand Falls in NYC, LA in Round 24 of Auction

With a couple of dozen rounds of the forward portion of the FCC spectrum auction in the books, the bidding stood at $22,704,101,100, up just under $700 million from round 23's $22,077,875,100.

The magic number, which is the bid total minus discounts and bidding credits, stood at an even $22 billion.

That is the number that must be quadrupled (plus a bit) to the $88,379,558,704 that will cover payments to broadcasters and the cost of the auction and post-auction TV station repack.

Demand in the top two markets -- New York and Los Angeles -- continued to drop, though in both cities demand still exceeded supply. In both cases, the FCC was still getting its asking price, which it is increasing by 10% in each round.

Related:Spectrum Auction Bids Up Over $860M After Round 22

If the FCC does not raise enough to cover the $88-plus billion figure, it will move to stage 2 of the auction, where it will lower the spectrum clearing target from 126 MHz to 114 MHz, continue the reverse auction at that lower figure--winnowing out some of the broadcasters that would have been paid at the higher spectrum-clearing total--then try to cover that new figure in a forward auction.

The FCC has nine possible spectrum clearing targets down to a low of 42.

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.