The bidding won’t start until July, but there’s no time like the present to check out this year’s opportunities.
The FM construction permits available in the 2015 auction have hit the show room floor. If you’re thinking about bidding on any of the 131 new and used models up for grabs, start looking now. The bidding action won’t start until July, but that doesn’t mean that it’s too early to formulate your game plan. This year’s listings include 113 brand new construction permits, seven used permits (i.e., permits that were sold once but never built) and 11 permits – including Muleshoe, Texas – that went unsold during the last auction.
You can find a list of this year’s offerings here. As you peruse the list you’ll note that more than half (73 to be exact) are located in Texas. The remaining permits cover the map from New Hampshire to California and from Washington State to Georgia; there’s even a C2 up for grabs in Hawaii.
As always, potential bidders should bear in mind that the FCC does not warranty what it sells. In fact, the FCC has included its standard four paragraph disclaimer, some in bold print, at page two of its notice. Among other tidbits, the Commission expressly disavows the useability of the CP’s on the auction block: “The FCC makes no representations or warranties about the use of this spectrum for particular services.” You have been warned.
The range of starting prices for permits runs from the dirt cheap ($500 for any of three Texas permits) to the pricier, but still modest, $75,000 (for certain permits in Georgia, Utah, Missouri and, of course, Texas). If you spot a permit on the list that you think is overpriced, you can bring it to the FCC’s attention and request them to lower the price; that sometimes works. But even if it does, you should note that a lower starting price does not prevent the permit’s eventual price from skyrocketing. As in previous auctions, the FCC has no set maximum price for the licenses.
If you would like to comment on the FCC’s prices or any other auction proposal, you have until April Fool’s Day – April 1, 2015 – to toss in your two cents’ worth. Reply comments are due by April 8, 2015. The FCC has created a special e-mail address – firstname.lastname@example.org – to which comments or reply comments should be sent (in addition to the standard FCC filing procedures). Comments can also address the FCC’s proposed auction procedures, but the procedures described for the 2015 auction are pretty much the same as previous FM auctions. Still, true auction aficionados should take a close look at the fine print to make sure that they’re on top of the details.
The usual bidding credit rules are set to apply this time around. Generally, a 35% bidding credit is available to bidders who own no other broadcast stations, and a 25% credit is given to bidders who own three or fewer stations (provided that none of those stations is in the same market as the target auction permit).
Check back with CommLawBlog for updates.