Broadcaster says keep auction on schedule


Sutton Radiocasting Corporation thinks that there should be no delay in the FM Auction scheduled to kick off 9/1/09. For starters, its attorney Dan Alpert argues that the government economic stimulus package may well be taking root by then; but it has other more pertinent points to make as well.

Sutton believes that the damaged economy will actually have the effect of dampening the interest of speculators in the utterly undeveloped stick market, and with that class of bidder out of the way, small businesses that sincerely want in – including minority- and female-owned small business, may find the process much more open and conducive to success than in recent auctions.

At the same time, Sutton does not want any changes to the bidding credit percentages. It argues that small, established owners who have prudently managed their finances and are able to bid – it considers itself to be in this category – stand a better chance of success with a spanking new stick than a rookie with a standalone. Furthermore, such companies should not be punished for their prudence by being put at a disadvantage in the auction.

Finally, it argues against keeping all sticks in play until the bitter end of the auction, which allows predatory offers as the end draws near. It would like to see the rules tweaked so that if an individual goes so many rounds without a bid, it is considered to be gaveled to the current high bidder, despite the fact that other sticks may still be in play.

RBR/TVBR observation: Sutton makes reasonable, well-stated points here. However, although we’d love to believe that the economy will be rebounding by the end of summer, we’re not so sure that’ll be enough time – but if you buy Sutton’s argument, it may not much matter anyway. It’ll be interesting to see what the FCC does with this.