Last month marked a major milestone in our ongoing effort to educate broadcasters about the opportunities afford by the first-ever incentive auction. We sent an information package, prepared by the investment banking firm Greenhill and Co. for the FCC, to the owners of every station eligible to participate in the auction. The package explained the unparalleled business opportunity and for the first time gave broadcasters high end estimates of compensation for relinquishing spectrum usage rights. In just the few weeks since we released the package, numerous broadcasters have reached out to learn more about the auction.
Building on the momentum generated by the information package, we are poised to begin the next phase of our outreach. FCC staff, again advised by Greenhill, will continue the dialogue with broadcasters in field visits to television markets around the country. We are currently planning more than a dozen trips that will cover about 50 markets between January and April 2015 (see list below). The field visits will include town hall meetings during which we will explain the opportunities presented by the auction and address questions that have been raised by broadcasters in the weeks since the Greenhill information package release. We will also provide further detail about opening bid prices and different participation options such as channel sharing, moving from a UHF channel to a VHF channel and moving from a high VHF channel to a lower one. Additionally, we will meet confidentially one-on-one with individual broadcasters who express an interest in learning more.
Our travel plans will be made with several factors in mind. First our outreach should cover the cities and regions most important to the reverse auction. We will be visiting a full range of markets—not just the largest—where we think we will need stations to participate in the reverse auction in order to clear a sufficient amount of spectrum to successfully close the auction.
Secondly, since the actual list of markets where we will need to compensate station owners for giving up some or all of their spectrum usage rights will be determined by the auction and won't be known before it begins, our field visits will cover markets throughout the continental U.S. Finally, the incentive auction will impact all broadcasters—those who are participating, and those that choose not to participate and therefore may be repacked. Our outreach will provide more detail on the auction and address questions from stations that may participate as well as those that won't.
Because participation in the auction is strictly voluntary, communicating clearly and effectively to broadcasters about the opportunities afforded by the auction is of the utmost importance to its overall success. We look forward to continuing the conversation with station owners as they carefully consider the economic potential of the auction in the weeks and months ahead.
FCC Incentive Auction Broadcaster Outreach Field Visits
We are currently planning more than a dozen field visits from January to mid April 2015 that will cover about 50 television markets. Our visits will encompass a full range of markets, not just the largest, where we think we will need stations to participate in the reverse auction. Field visits will include town hall meetings and confidential one-on-one meetings with broadcasters who express an interest in learning more.
*List is not final and is subject to change
*The FCC’s broadcaster outreach will also include conference calls and webinars for broadcasters who do not participate in the road show meetings