Local Stations Could Earn Billions in Airwaves Auction

By Mark Joyella 

TV stations: the FCC wants your airwaves–and they’re willing to pay. The government wants to buy airwaves from local broadcasters and sell those airwaves–known as “the spectrum”–to wireless carriers.

As The New York Times reports, this week “officials from the F.C.C. went into sales mode. Consider how much money you could make, they told the stations, and consider how little you risk by sitting at the bargaining table with us.”

The problem, though, is handing over the keys to the historic kingdom in exchange for all that cash:


“I’ve told broadcasters: Your spectrum is your seed corn,” said Gordon H. Smith, president of the National Association of Broadcasters, which is holding the conference, and a former Republican senator from Oregon. “If you sell that, you have no harvest next year. You can’t plant.”

Still, Mr. Smith said he had recently warmed to the idea. “Why is it exciting?” he said. “Billions of dollars.”