Tuesday - March 4th - AM Edition

Religious Broadcasters May Be Offered  As Much As $28 Billion To Participate  In The FCC's Incentive Auction - So Why Is The NRB Board Passing Resolutions Complaining About it?

The Coalition has been conducting its' own impact analysis of the Incentive Auction on LPTV and TV translator licensees, using the infamous Greenhill 1 & 2 Reports issued by the FCC, and which are being used by them for recruiting auction eligible broadcasters.  We are doing this because we believe that both Greenhill Reports are gateways into how well the FCC will be able to achieve the maximum 144-MHz clearing target (channels 51-27) across the country (their stated goal).  As part of our research we look to see the likelihood of auction participation due to the high opening bids authorized by the FCC in Greenhill-2.  We also are studying these Reports very carefully for our numerous Class-A members which have asked us to prepare them for their meetings with the Incentive Auction Task Force, and to develop auction bidding strategies for them.

So last week, on the heels of both a Board of Directors Resolution, and Press Conference at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) Convention in Nashville, the Coalition has taken a deep dive into research related to which religious broadcasters are going to benefit from the Incentive Spectrum auction, and which are not.  Since we represent dozens of religious broadcasters ourselves, and our members air more than 100 religious channels on their digital sub-channels, we have more than a passing interest in what NRB says.

Here is the Resolution from the NRB Board passed on Feb. 23, 2015:

So, NRB is upset that its members and any "religious broadcasters" which might be forced off the air by the FCC.  And for us, they specifically are concerned with LPTV, saying that it, "...is in a precarious position."  And we could not agree more, that all LPTV stations are faced with severe challenges in the post-auction repacking process.

But we also know that ALL LPTV licenses, as well as all new Construction Permit holders, have the Right of Displacement, which means they have the right to go find another channel when they are displaced.  And we know that not any of them will lose their license, they just have to move, and thanks to Congress, they have to pay for it themselves.  Now, this is still a real hardship for many small businesses, and for most non-profits, including religious broadcasters.

We then viewed the passionate appeal from Dr. Randy Weiss, the Chairman of the National Religious Broadcasters TV Committee, and Board member of the Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance (ATBA), as well as national Christian television network owner ( EICB), and the owner through EICB of 59 "built" LPTV stations and licenses.  

Here is what Dr. Weiss said in his press conference at NRB (our emphasis in red)

" As Chairman of the National Religious Broadcasters TV Committee, I'd like to commend the NRB Board and Membership for the clear and powerful resolution unanimously passed in support of the protection for America's LPTV and Translator television stations.   We strongly oppose any actions that will damage religious TV broadcasters.  The FCC should reevaluate their approach to the so-called Voluntary Incentive Auction. Personally, it seems clear to me that just like there is nothing "neutral" about "Net Neutrality," there is nothing "voluntary" about the Voluntary Incentive Auction for the many religious LPTV stations that will be shut down without compensation if the FCC proceeds as planned. The NRB is watching.   Religious broadcasters are concerned that the FCC'S actions will silence many voices for faith.  This must not happen. "

Now, we commend Dr. Weiss for his impassioned appeal to save the, "...many voices for faith." But we again need to remind him, and all of us, that no LPTV licensee will lose their license, it simply is not allowed under the current FCC regulations, and Congress made sure to enshrine those rights in the auction enabling legislation. The 59 EICB built LPTV stations will all be found new channels, although its' numerous unbuilt construction permits will be at the back of the line. And like the rest of us in the industry, our coverage areas and population counts are not protected. Thank your friends and mine in Congress for that.  But the FCC has already said it will try to find us channels, and our Coalition is working with them to do that.  Since Dr. Weiss in also on the ATBA Board, we urge him to work with us to assist the FCC in this process.

But the key point to this lengthy introduction is that the Coalition research has discovered the following:

1)  As many as 30 Christian television broadcast licensees have as many as 130 "auction-eligible" full power, non-com, and Class-A licenses. 

2)  These 130 licenses collectively have as much as $28 billion, yes billion, in estimated Greenhill-2 Opening Bid prices! 

3)  These 130 potential auction winners collectively have Greenhill-1 closing prices totaling over $5 billion!

4)  One of these 30 licensees has over a $1 billion in Greenhill-2 Opening Bid offers potentially being made to them by the FCC.  With many others in the 100's of millions also.

When our Impact Analysis is complete we will report back with the details.
But we need to say that the USA religious television broadcasters are going to do quite well by the FCC and its' rules for the Incentive Auction.  And many of these 30 will be able to take their windfall profits (tax free?) and reinvest it into their LPTV and digital ministries.  So we are not worried about religious voices being silenced as a result of the auction.  But we are concerned, that pure LPTV operators like EICB, and most others with LPTV licenses, have and will still face hardships during the Incentive Auction process.  Yet we have the ROD, the Right of Displacement to go find new channels.  And the FCC, for the first time ever, will help us do it with the new optimization software they are going to be using in the auction repacking. So let's have some faith in the process folks...





38 LPTV New Construction Permits 
Purchased By DTV America For $152,000

Radio and Television Business Report ran a story today the DTV America, owned by John Kyle II, a long time LPTV investor, has purchased from Michael Dagen's MIK, LLC, new digital construction permits in Texas and South Carolina.  For those of you which follow the FCC's CDBS filings on a regular basis, you know that through various broadcast ownership entities, John and his team have been amassing one of the largest LPTV license and CP holdings.  But unlike some who are speculators, DTV America is actually building out and running many stations (although they do have a lot of CPs still).  And through various other entities, DTV Cast, they have been developing a digital data service, albeit with ATSC 1.0, but heck, they are DOING IT!  Check out DTV Cast if you have not yet seen the site.





Incentive Auction "Spectrum Aggregator" 
Locus Point Purchases Class-A 
In Pittsburg DMA #23 For $1.2 Million 

TV Newscheck ran a story today that Locus Point (a fully-owned for-profit LLC subsidiary of the nation's largest hedge firm Blackstone Group), which has already purchased 3 full power, 11 Class-A digital, and 2 low power stations, has now purchased from long time LPTV operator and legal counsel, Ben Perez, his WQVC-CA, in Greenburg, PA, which is the Pittsburg DMA #23 (DMA according to the FCC modeling).  The station has according to the FCC auction simulation studies, a population of about 423,000.  But we see its' digital channel coverage at 1,649,613.  

However, this is the story here folks...according to the Greenhill-2 Opening Bid pricing, a Class-A clearing in the Pittsburg DMA could fetch in the range of $230 to $94 million!  And according to Greenhill-1, the estimated High End Compensation for a Class-A in that DMA ranges from $38 to $21 million.  Still a far cry from that $1.2 million pricing.  Since this is a remaining analog to digital conversion, at least according to the call-sign, they would have until May 29th to build out the digital facility.  Best of luck Ben, but drinks on you at the NAB Show!  



  • Will be close to the rest of the LPTV Day events so you can have a chance to mingle and discuss the activities with your colleagues.
  • Special guest speaker you will not want to miss.  You will also not want to miss the official release of the new  2015 LPTV Industry Directory.


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Mike Gravino
LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition
(202) 604-0747