What if you held a spectrum auction and nobody came?


GavelThat’s the question posed by one television operator who believes that the broadcast television business is vibrant and poised for continued success. Sure there are likely to be buyers, but Dan Viles of Cable Ad Network New York wonders if there will be very many sellers.

Viles is the GM of WYBN-LD, a digital low power outlet in upstate New York. The station uses multicasting to bring a variety of programming options to its service area, including sports, outdoor adventure shows, Spanish-language material, movies, syndicated fare and children’s programming. It broadcasts from Windham Mountain, reaching the Albany-Schenectady-Troy DMA, as well as the area from Saugerties to Cobleskill.

Viles read an RBR-TVBR article on incentive auctions and responded with a series of bullet points, which we will pass along with his permission:

I do not know of any TV groups that run ad sales correctly or strong independents that are doing the auction.

An old classic James Coburn spoof movie says it all!!!!! “What if they had a war & nobody came”
I heard the latest auction meeting in Oct / Nov had about 50 attendees TV’s current plusses!!!

TV has the DTV build outs & capital for it done & paid.

Political & PAC with the Supreme court PAC advertising ruling is hot & staying hot!!!

Retransmission is growing and a solidifier of the bottom-line & predictable income monthly!!!!

Diginets are just starting to mature & get sales revenue!! Also still adding new networks.

So TV isn’t such a bad business.

Observations: The sellers are the sticks that are non center DMA , poorly run or ??? – those are the ones that will be put up for sale. I think they will have less than 100 sellers or even under 50!!!!

Dan Viles
General Manager

RBR-TVBR observation: Viles represents a low power outlet – and if LPTV operators are finding that business is too good to abandon, how many full power stations are going to be seriously considering participating in the auctions? We are thrilled that Viles is much more interested in running a station than cashing a one-time check. The FCC may be less-than-thrilled at this news, however. We hope the innovators and fallow-spectrum hunters are out there giving the Commission options other than television spectrum…


  1. LPTV is the “red-headed step-child” that isn’t going to go away, whether the FCC or anyone else wishes it to. There is just too much at stake here for that to happen. People’s livelihoods are at risk of complete obliteration and those that wouldn’t fight before will when they realize that what they have today will be taken away forever.

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