Sinclair Broadcast Group and WQED have joined the list of broadcasters releasing information about expected proceeds from the FCC’s current spectrum auction.
Sinclair is expecting $313 million in gross proceeds from the auction and, like other broadcasters that have already released similar news, is expecting no material impact to its operations or results due to the auction.
Most of the announcements thus far have come from large station groups but today WQED, a public broadcaster in Pittsburgh, announced it expected to receive $9.9 million in proceeds from the auction. Deborah Acklin, president and CEO of WQED, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the money means a great deal to the station.
“It’s a reversal of fortune for this community institution that is truly historic. We have in some way, shape or form been burdened by financial issues for 30-plus years and this wipes it all away in one fell swoop,” Acklin told the paper.
Before Sinclair and WQED, Gray Television, Fox Television and Tribune Media also announced their expected proceeds. Gray is anticipating $90.8 million, Fox is expecting $350 million, and Tribune Media is expecting $190 million.
Gray noted that “significantly, the actions necessary to receive the proceeds will not lead to job losses and otherwise are not expected to produce any material change in operations or results for Gray or for any individual market in which we operate.”
Like Fox TV’s estimates, analysts have pointed out that Sinclair is expecting to make much less than expected off the broadcast incentive auctions.
The 600 MHz airwaves up for auction are considered more valuable because of their propagation characteristics that allow for wider coverage areas using fewer towers and better in-building reception. Some thought the auctions could top the record $44.9 billion brought in by the AWS-3 spectrum auction.
But with the forward auction winding down, the proceeds total hovering around $19.56 billion, and the FCC taking measures to speed up the bidding process, it’s becoming clear that the broadcast incentive auctions won’t be the resounding success many had hoped for.