The FCC continues to take its show on the road, announcing incentive auction seminars for TV broadcasters in several new cities. At these seminars, FCC officials meet with TV broadcasters in a general meeting to outline the mechanics of the proposed incentive auction to reclaim a portion of the TV band to be resold to wireless users for wireless broadband purposes, and the subsequent “repacking” when remaining TV stations will be assigned channels on which to operate in a smaller TV band. The new seminars are to be held at the following locations:
March 30, 2015: Cincinnati, OH
March 31, 2015: Columbus, OH
April 1, 2015: Cleveland, OH
April 7, 2015: Louisville, KY
April 8, 2015: Indianapolis, IN
April 14, 2015: Las Vegas, NV (in conjunction with the NAB Show)
TV broadcasters should contact the FCC to make reservations to attend. At the same time, broadcasters can schedule a private meeting with the FCC officials to talk about the likely opening bids to be offered to stations to surrender their frequencies and other details specific to the situation faced by their stations.
I recently had the opportunity to attend one of the information sessions and, while overall the information may not be particularly new to someone who has been following the auction closely, there are always nuggets of information that are provided generally about the process that can help clarify the incentive auction process. For broadcasters who have not been following the process closely, it provides a good introduction, and the Commission officials leave plenty of time for questions that, at the session I attended, ranged from the very basic to much more detailed and nuanced questions about auction processing and the assignment of prices to be paid to stations that will participate in the auction process either by selling out their spectrum and ceasing operations, or by moving from a UHF to a VHF channel. With seminars across the country, and at the NAB Convention, these provide a good opportunity to enhance a broadcaster’s understanding of the expected auction process, and to learn some particulars as to how their station will likely be treated in the upcoming auction.