The FCC yesterday announced plans to hold an auction to award construction permits allowing the winners to build new radio stations. The auction notice includes 136 FM channels and, in a new wrinkle, 4 AM opportunities, for which bids will be able to be placed once the auction commences. The list of channels to be auctioned is here – with many channels being in the state of Texas, with an assortment of others around the country. These channels are mostly those that had been included in an auction scheduled for last July which was cancelled because of COVID-19 (see our articles here and here). In addition, a few newly available FM channels have been added to the list, as well as 4 AMs in the St. Louis area that are available because a licensee surrendered those licenses after a license renewal challenge.
The notice released yesterday asks for comments on the auction procedures to be used in awarding these channels, proposing procedures that are generally familiar to those who have participated in FM auctions in the past. The auction is tentatively scheduled to begin on July 27. Working backward, that would mean that the initial “short-form” applications required for parties who want to participate in the auction would likely be due sometime in May. Upfront payments equal to or greater than the minimum payments for the channels that an applicant ultimately wins in the auction will probably be due in June.
Continue Reading Want a New Radio Station? FCC Proposes Procedures for a July 2021 Auction, Lists Channels to be Sold, and Imposes a Freeze on Certain Applications