FCC Proposes FM Auction for November 3, 2004; Seeks Comments On Methodology
The FCC has rescheduled an FM broadcast auction for Nov. 3, 2004, that was originally scheduled for February 2000 and postponed several times before it was “indefinitely” postponed following Sept. 11, 2001. The vacant allotments proposed to be auctioned are shown in an Attachment to the Commission’s request for comments on minimum opening bids and other auction procedures released late last week.
The methodology proposed for this auction is not materially different than the methodology used in previous broadcast auctions. Specifically, the Commission proposes minimum opening bids for each channel, based on the Commission’s estimate of its value, taking location and power into account. Those wishing to bid on any of these channels must submit an upfront payment equal to the total amount of the minimum opening bids for each channel desired.
The proposed upfront payments/minimum opening bids range from $1,500 to $200,000 per channel. The Commission seeks comment on these amounts as well as on the proposed methodology to auction all stations simultaneously and to keep the auction open until bidding stops on all stations. As in previous auctions, the proposed rules require each bid increment to be at least 10 percent above the previous bid. When two or more parties place the same high bid in any round, the Commission will randomly choose one of them to be the standing high bidder going into the next round. Participants also will be required to bid in each round to retain eligibility, subject to five so-called “activity rule waivers,” permitting bidders to refrain from bidding in up to five rounds without losing eligibility. All bidding will take place over the Internet, although telephonic bids will also be permitted.
Comments on the proposed methodology are due May 17, 2004, with reply comments due May 24, 2004. All comments must be filed electronically. Please contact us if you would like to file comments or have any questions regarding the proposed auction.