Auction 83? What???

Posted on January 31st, 2018 by

A long, long time ago, the FCC decided to open a filing window for new commercial FM translator authorizations. They did so on February 6, 2003 and after an extension, closed it on March 21, 2003. That means we are coming up on the 15th anniversary of the window. Why are we mentioning this in our January 2018 newsletter?

Well, it’s because there are still mutually exclusive applications pending from that window that need to be resolved by a highest-bidder-wins auction. We know it seems unbelievable, but it’s really true. There are a total of 43 mutually exclusive applicant groups that will go to auction June 21, 2018.

Why so long before an auction? Well, the short answer is a combination of a bad approach and some bureaucracy. The “bad” approach was that the rules set up for the window allowed applicants to file multiple applications for the same frequency, and after fielding thousands of applications, the FCC had to weed them out after the fact, limiting applicants to a certain number. The bureaucracy part was that the FCC’s auction folks became preoccupied with something called the television auction, and put other auctions, including Auction 83, on the back burner.

Well now that the FCC is holding new auction filing windows for AM station cross-service FM translators, and seeing that there are leftover mutually exclusive applicant groups for those, it needs to conduct Auction 83 first to get the earlier filed applications processed. Then, we’ll see Auction 99 and Auction 100 scheduled. It’s a process.

Could it be that you filed an Auction 83 translator application in 2003 and it was never granted as a singleton or dismissed for some other reason, and is therefore headed for auction on June 21, 2018? Check the list to make absolutely certain. And if you’re on it, read the proposed rules for Auction 83 in this public notice. Comments are due February 6, 2018.