Radio Group Owners Take In Big Money From FCC TV Repack Auction

FCC Juan Alberto Ayala Translator AbuseThe FCC has announced the results of the Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction as $10.05 billion will be dispersed from wireless providers to licensees who either will turn in their station’s license or move to a VHF frequency.

Many of the recipients of the $10 billion plus windfall will be going to groups that own radio licenses. Among the groups taking in money that perhaps will be reinvested in radio operations are:

Univision is getting $411,223,861 for WXFT Aurora IL, WXTV Paterson NJ and WWSI Atlantic City NJ.

Entravision will receive $263,592,981 for four television licenses: KSMS-TV Monterey CA, WJAL Hagerstown MD, WMDO-CD Washington DC, and WUVN Hartford CT.

WGBH Educational Foundation which operates WGBH-FM and WCRB Boston will gain $218,767,868
for moving WGBH-TV Boston to low band VHF and WGBY-TV Springfield MA to high band VHF.

720 WGN Chicago owner Tribune Media will receive $172,101,583 for WDCW Washington DC and WPMT York PA.

Mereulo Media, owners of 93.5 KDAY Rendondo Beach CA, will receive $123,474,177 to move KWHY Los Angeles to low VHF.

Family Stations will receive $120,974,061 for WNYJ-TV West Milford NJ.

San Francisco Bay Area public broadcaster KQED Inc. receives $ 95,459,109 for KQEH San Jose.

Binnie Media will receive $68,081,337 for WBIN-TV Derry NH.

Hearst, owners of 1090 WBAL and 97.9 WIYY Baltimore, will receive $50,464,592 for WNNE Hartford VT.

LM Communications gains $20,656,456 for WBKI-TV Campbellsville KY.

Spanish Broadcasting Systems will net $4,737,874 for WTCV San Juan PR.

The biggest single station windfalls went to Trinity Broadcasting Network who will receive $304,250,040 for the license of WWTO-TV LaSalle IL and NBC Telemundo which will gain $214,023,017 for WNBC New York (who will likely merge into sister WNJU Linden NJ’s license).

The full list of stations receiving payments can be seen here.

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Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

9 Comments


  1. When do these TV stations have to go off the air?


    • The first phase of channel moves and sign-offs will take place on November 30, 2018.


      • Wouldn’t most of these stations be added to subchannel space on existing ones?


  2. Univision actually sold the spectrum of WUVP Vineland NJ/Philadelphia, along with the spectrum for WXFT and WXTV. NBC Telemundo sold the spectrum of WWSI.


  3. A few other radio/TV pubcasters that I remember making “go off-air” announcements earlier are: the University of South Florida/WUSF in Tampa disposing of its TV station; The Ohio State University/WOSU disposing of WPBO (Portsmouth; Charleston/Huntington DMA); Central Michigan University/WCMU disposing of WCMZ (Flint); and Richmond-based Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation (WCVE’s parent) disposing of the two MHz Networks stations (WNVC and WNVT) in Northern Virginia (D.C. DMA). Current has a good rundown (at http://current.org/2017/04/final-fcc-auction-data-shows-sales-of-30-noncommercial-educational-tv-stations) that actually links back to its stories on the earlier announcements (including those just relating to channel moves instead).

    Also, I just noticed that VCY America’s flagship TV station (Milwaukee’s WVCY) is also a “go off-air” in the final list.


  4. I’m surprised that Hearst didn’t sell of their radio stations in Baltimore, even though they sold most of their stations between 1997 and 2001. If Hearst does seek a buyer for its radio stations, iHeartMedia would be the best one.


    • And where would iHeart get the money?


      • By selling their Frederick stations to another broadcaster, and possibly sell all their small market stations to Alpha or Townsquare.


  5. Looks like WOSU and WCMU don’t really care about losing some cable/satellite carriage (I think WPBO is on the Charleston/Huntington DirecTV and DISH feeds and WCMZ is on most cable systems in the northern and western suburbs of Detroit [WCMZ is also on AT&T U-verse in Detroit])

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