FM Auction #79 more of a yard sale


FM Auction #62 in 2006 grossed over $70M in winning bids. A little over a year later, FM Auction #70 grossed over $21M. Just-concluded FM Auction #79 didn’t even get close to $10M.

Other comparisons also show that it was anything but a boom market for baby FM stations. #62 featured 214 qualified bidders. 96 of them acquired 163 CPs. The FCC was left with just eight unclaimed CPs still on the shelf. Many of the buyers were eligible for bidding credits, too. The gross was $70.122M, but when credits were taken into account the cash value of the auction was reduced to $54.260M.

The action at Auction #70 was certainly reduced. There were exactly 100 fewer qualified bidders, with 114. 60 of them bid successfully on 111 CPs, leaving the FCC with nine leftovers. The gross of $24.448M was reduced to $21.301M after bidding credits were accounted for.

This time, there were only 77 qualified bidders, 53 of whom acquired a total of 85 stations. The FCC had no takers for a whopping 37 CPs. We said the gross did not approach $10M and we weren’t kidding. It came home at $6.238M, reduced to $5.253M after deductions.

Here are the CPs that managed to pull in six-figure winning gross bids, including the winning bid, the city of license and the bidder:

$518K, Murrieta CA, Audion Communications LLC

$485K, Palm Coast FL, Ashley T. Joyner

$389K, Kernville CA, Hispanic Target Media Inc.

$322K, Opelousas LA, Delta Media Corp.

$283K, Quinby SC, Miller Communications Inc.

$252K, McConnelsville OH, Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting System Inc.

$242K, Lamont CA, Owens One Company Inc.

$191K, San Isidro TX, Christian Ministries of the Valley Inc.

$174K, Port St. Joe FL, Thomas Hines

$165K, Lynchburg VA, United States CP LLC

$150K, Big Sur CA, Mount Wilson FM Broadcasters

$150K, Union Gap WA, Sunnylands Broadcasting LLC

$132K, Buffalo Gap TX, In Phase Broadcasting Inc.

$124K, Eastpoint FL, Oyster Radio Inc.

$120K, Walnut Grove MS, Johnny Boswell Radio LLC

$109K, Tallapoosa GA, WKNG LLC

$111K, Belle Haven VA, Hampton Roads Educational Telecom Associates Inc.

RBR/TVBR observation: Minority groups had petitioned to have this auction delayed in view of the economic climate. They thought lack of financing could keep socially disadvantaged businesses from joining in on the bidding. We don’t know what the FCC thinks about its decision to keep to its schedule, but it is hard to imagine a poorer auction result.

After Auction #62, the FCC waited a year, then held a mini-auction for some of the leftovers – FM Auction #70 had only nine CPs on the table, and grossed $3.663M. It will be interesting to see if the FCC will open up a minimarket for the 37 it still has in the warehouse.