CBC Wins Spectrum in FCC Auction
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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently placed spectrum from television channels 52 through 59 on the auction block. Capitol Broadcasting Company (CBC) stepped in with a team of bidders and won spectrum for channels 54 and 59, which cover most of Eastern NC, including Raleigh, Wilmington and the part of SC surrounding Myrtle Beach.
The CBC team consisted of WRAL Programming & Special Projects Manager Jimmy Goodmon, CBC VP & Special Counsel Mike Hill, CBC VP of Special Projects John Greene and CBC VP of Finance Whit Neville. They let other bidders know early that CBC wanted the Raleigh spectrum. As a result they were successful in paying the FCC minimum required price. Other companies in the country paid much more.
CBC’s bid actually won spectrum in 12 areas, which encompass two or three counties each. The price tag for the acquisition is $888,000. CBC will now face the task of deciding the best use for this additional spectrum.
The spectrum became available because of the nation’s conversion to digital. The FCC instituted a May 1, 2006, deadline for all TV stations to convert their operations to digital. Channels 52 and above will be abandoned with this conversion, and the FCC put them at auction to raise money for the federal government.
“Capitol Broadcasting has won spectrum in the lower 700MHz band in an auction just completed by the FCC,” Greene explained. “Use of the spectrum, which must be digital, is extremely flexible and may used for television or radio broadcast, cell phones, G3 communications, etc.”
The FCC’s May deadline is in a state of limbo after Congress said that the conversion cannot take place until there is an 85% penetration of digital sets in the US. All CBC stations have already transferred to digital operation with the exception of WILM-TV in Wilmington.
CBC currently owns five television stations in North Carolina: WRAL-TV in Raleigh, WRAZ-TV in Durham, WJZY-TV and WWWB-TV in Charlotte and WILM-TV in Wilmington. CBC also owns one radio station, WRAL-FM, in Raleigh.