Sutton Opposes FCC FM Auction Delay
April 2, 2009 at 11:26 AM (PT)
SUTTON RADIOCASTING CORP.'s filing in the FM Auction No. 79 proceeding takes a different view of the procedure from comments asking for delays and changes in minority preferece credits submitted by MULLANEY ENGINEERING and the MINORITY MEDIA AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COUNCIL.
SUTTON supports the original SEPTEMBER 1 date for the auction, noting that the economic climate cited by the MMTC as a reason to delay the proceeding could change due to the stimulus measures taken by the administration and Congress. "In the current climate where there may, hypothetically, indeed be fewer Auction bidders," asserts SUTTON, "it is extremely likely that such an environment will in fact favor new entrants (and mid-level existing broadcast licensee) insofar as today’s economic climate is likely to cause large publicly traded companies and mass-frequency speculators to 'sit out' this particular Auction and finally allow small or local-community based bidders a reasonable shot at acquiring a desired frequency."
SUTTON also submits that "an increase is bidding discounts currently applicable to some Auction bidders is not appropriate.... while a stand-alone new entrant often does (and in today’s economic climate, may well) fail, an existing locally-based acquisition (1) allows an existing broadcaster to operate the same station with increased efficiency as a part of an 'economy of scale,' thereby increasing the likelihood the station permit acquired in the Auction will in fact succeed in the marketplace; and (2) the public interest will be served by virtue of the fact that the local broadcaster will be in a position to provide additional locally based programming.
"Increasing 'new entrant' bidding credits to an even greater percentage above the current 35% level will unfairly skew the bidding process and the auction ownership process to only one group (nominal 'new entrants'), at the detrimental expense of the other."
And SUTTON also asks for a more efficient auction process, suggesting that instead of keeping all 122 allotments open for bid until no more bids come in for any permit in a single round, that auctions for a particular permit should close on a "rolling" basis, "so that if no new bids are received for permit for a certain set number of Rounds, the Auction for the particular permit at that time ends.... Six Rounds is an appropriate period."