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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).
FCC REAFFIRMS AUCTION PROCEDURES FOR COMPETING COMMERCIAL BROADCAST LICENSE AND ITFS APPLICATIONS
The FCC today reaffirmed its decision to use auctions to resolve competing applications
for commercial broadcast licenses. |
In response to petitions for reconsideration filed by thirty-one parties, the Commission generally reaffirmed its conclusions in its original August 6, 1998 order. There the Commission adopted auction procedures for mutually exclusive commercial broadcast license applications. This earlier order implemented legislation requiring auctions to resolve most competing commercial broadcast applications, while authorizing the Commission to decide whether to use auctions for pending applications filed before July 1, 1997.
The Commission upheld its earlier conclusion that auctions would be speedier and fairer than comparative hearings for all cases involving pre-July 1, 1997 applications. In a specific frozen hearing case, the Commission rejected a petitioner's argument that an auction would be unfair because the case had begun under the comparative hearing process. To expedite service to the public, the Commission also affirmed its decision to consider qualifications issues after the auction involving the winning bidder only.
The FCC said it would serve the public interest to amend the terms of the anti-collusion rule as it applies to the secondary broadcast services (low power television and television and FM translator services) and to the Instructional Television Fixed Service. For a limited time period following the filing of short-form applications but before the commencement of any auction in these services, competing applicants will be permitted to resolve their mutual exclusivities by means of settlements or engineering solutions.
The Commission affirmed its adoption of the new entrant bidding credit. Applicants with interests in no other mass media facilities would receive a 35% credit to lower the cost of their winning bids. A 25% reduction in their winning bids would be given to applicants with interests in very few media outlets, none of which serve the same area as the applicants' proposed stations. The Commission agreed with petitioners that existing interests in low power television and television and FM translator stations should not be counted among a winning bidder's mass media interests for purposes of determining eligibility for the new entrant bidding credit. It also refined the standards for determining whether a winning bidder's proposed station serves the "same area" as the bidder's existing media interests, thereby rendering the bidder ineligible for a bidding credit.
The Commission said it will consider in a further order in this proceeding an additional refinement to the new entrant eligibility standards. This further order will consider whether to attribute debt or equity above a certain level based on Commission review of the record in the broadcast attribution proceeding.
Among other requests for reconsideration that were denied by the Commission:
* it rejected requests for reimbursement by petitioners who had previously filed applications when the FCC still used comparative hearings in these cases;Action by the Commission April 15, 1999, by Decision (FCC 99-74), Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell and Tristani.
Mass Media Bureau Contact: Jerianne Timmerman (418-1600) and Lisa Scanlan (418-2700 ).