The FCC has announced the deadlines and procedures to auction 131 construction permits for new FM stations. A link to the list of facilities being auctioned is here. Of these, 113 are for new FM allotments, 11 are for permits that received no bids in the prior auction, and 7 are for permits for which winning bidders defaulted.

The basic procedures track those used in prior auctions. The essential dates are:

  • May 18-28 – This is the window for filing “Short Forms” (FCC Forms 175) that provide basic identifying information, claim entitlement to new entrant bidding credits and specify the permits for which the filer seeks eligibility to bid. All permits specified in more than one short form will proceed to auction.
  • June 29 – Upfront payments must be received by wire transfer in an amount sufficient to cover the “upfront” amounts listed for those permits for which bids are to be made in a given round of the auction.
  • July 20 – A mock auction will be held so that bidders and their agents can test the software and become familiar with the bidding mechanism.
  • July 23 – The auction is to begin, using the same simultaneous multiple-round structure, and with the same eligibility, activity, waiver, increments, transition, stage and stopping rules, as in prior FM auctions.

Note that all communications that have the potential to affect bidding or bidding strategies are forbidden among bidders specifying the same permit unless the parties are identified in the respective short forms. The prohibition begins on May 28 and continues until the down payment deadline following the auction.

Also note that a freeze will be in effect during the short-form filing window (May 18-28), during which no FM minor change application can be filed, so that auction participants may specify and obtain protection for preferred site coordinates. In the meantime, all FM minor change applications must protect the reference coordinates of the auction allotments, as specified on the linked list.

Full details are available in the Commission’s Public Notice, DA 15-452, which can be found on the FCC’s website at: http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2015/db0422/DA-15-452A1.pdf.