As RBR-TVBR has noted during the debate over television incentive auctions, the odds of finding licensees willing to relinquish their channel space for a one-time payday are the lowest in the large markets where the need for it is highest. A report in the Los Angeles Times tends to confirm this notion.
Spectrum is an existential facet of a major broadcast operation, so the odds of a network affiliate anywhere giving it up are slim. Operators of television groups openly stated to LAT that they are unaware of any competitors with plans on participating.
Wireless operators believe there are smaller stations, however, that might be willing to exchange their license for a windfall payday, and suggest that only a small percentage of the existing television licensees need do this to provide enough room for broadband expansion.
NAB’s Dennis Wharton was concerned that this could be bad news for minority niches within the greater urban communities, who rely on smaller television for programming aimed to serve their tastes and special information needs.
It was also noted that there may be broadcasters in smaller markets who might be willing to participate in an auction. However, as has been noted earlier, the smaller markets have much more space in the television band available as it is, so while there may be broadcasters willing to sell, the question is whether there will be anybody interested in buying.