Long wait, little return as sale of 13 radio permits brings in less than $2,000,000

The Commission has just brought the gavel down on Auction 88, which featured 13 radio (AM, FM, FM translator) permits up for grabs. This was a closed auction – the participants were limited to folks who had filed applications for these particular facilities in the distant past. Some of those applications were filed as early as 1993; the most recent (for an AM permit) were filed in 2001.

While it took a decade or more to get things moving, it took the Commission a mere four days of auctioning to get things wrapped up. And if the FCC thought that keeping these permits on ice for so long might drive up the prices they would likely fetch, the FCC has at least one more think coming. By the time the bidding opened, four of the 13 permits had only one bidder, and so sold for their opening bid amounts which, in the aggregate, amounted to well under $200,000. (By contrast, one market was hotly contested, as two bidders slugged it out over an FM permit in North Madison, OH. The starting bid there was $75,000; after 16 rounds of bidding, one of the bidders cried uncle and the winner walked away with the permit for $425,000.)

When the dust settled, the FCC got less than $2,000,000 for all the permits (less than $1.5M, once you factor in bidding credits) – and that’s assuming that all the checks clear.

The communities and successful bids were as follows:

FM permits:

Durango, CO                   $20,000

Bloomfield, IN          $22,000

Santa Isabel, PR        $25,000

Two Rivers, WI         $49,000

Steamboat Springs, CO   $55,000

Idalou, TX              $75,000

Shawsville, VA          $153,000

Traverse City, MI       $224,000

Greenwood, AR           $255,000

North Madison, OH       $425,000

Rosendale, NY          $499,999

AM permit:

Terre Haute, IN         $53,000

FM Translator permit:

              Coyote, CA                $31,000

The FCC will likely make the auction results public next week. The release of the public notice will trigger deadlines for the winning bidders to submit their money and update their paperwork to apply for their new construction permits. The construction permits will have the standard three-year deadline by which the station must be constructed or the permit will be forfeited.