TV spectrum auction: Coalition of the willing formed


GavelThere are broadcasters out there who may be willing to turn in spectrum for auction, but only if the conditions are right. A new coalition headed by broadcast veteran Preston Padden has been formed to represent their interests as the FCC moves forward on the auction structure.

Padden said, “This coalition’s sole focus is to advocate for the success of the voluntary incentive auction of broadcast spectrum. The FCC has only one shot to get it right. The Coalition is dedicated to ensuring we have the rules and procedures in place to maximize the auction’s chance to succeed.”

The coalition is made up of broadcasters considering turning over some or all of their spectrum under the right conditions. Since they are operating businesses with the spectrum at the moment, their identities are being protected.

“I have spent the bulk of my career as a broadcaster. It is important to me that the Coalition fully support those broadcasters that wish to remain in that great and noble business. We hope that by providing an effective vehicle for those broadcasters that choose another path, the FCC’s auction can strengthen the nation’s broadcast and wireless future,” Padden said.

Dennis Wharton of the National Association of Broadcasters weighed in, saying, “NAB will continue to engage our members, the FCC and others to develop an auction that allows volunteer broadcasters to be adequately compensated for leaving the business while holding harmless TV stations that remain on the air. If the devastation of Hurricane Sandy has demonstrated anything over the last two weeks, it’s been the unique resiliency and reliability of our transmission architecture and the indispensable lifeline role played by local broadcasting in the fabric of American life.”

RBR-TVBR observation: The auctions are supposed to be voluntary, and they won’t amount to very much if nobody volunteers. We have no problem at all with interested parties coming together to make sure their collective voice is heard. Providing adequate compensation for willing participants should help ensure that the process does remain truly voluntary for broadcasters.