Michigan Spectrum Auction Summary

Last week, the FCC announced the results of its broadcast incentive auction and it appears that three Michigan television stations were successful bidders in the reverse auction.

As previously announced, both WCMZ-TV (Flint) and WHTV-TV (Jackson-Lansing) accepted bids to relinquish their spectrum.

WCMZ-TV, owned by Central Michigan University, has not yet announced a date in which they will discontinue operations.  The university received $14 million from the auction for the WCMZ spectrum.

WHTV-TV, owned by Spartan-TV, LLC announced via their website that they will be signing-off at midnight on April 30, 2017.  Spartan-TV sold their spectrum for just under $14 million.

The third Michigan station accepting an auction bid was WLNS-TV (Lansing), owned by Nexstar Media Group.  While the existing WLNS spectrum was sold for $13.6 million, the company has told the MAB that it will be entering a channel-sharing arrangement with WLAJ-TV (Lansing).  WLNS will retain its license, call letters, virtual channel assignment (6.1) and present programming.

On the mind of many Michigan television broadcasters is channel reassignments under the television band repack.  Out of 60 affected full-power and class A television stations in the state, 32 will be changing channels.  A complete list of stations and their new channel assignments, sorted by state and city is available here.

According to the CommLawBlog, LPTV stations also will be impacted by the channel reassignment and will need to prepare for displacements starting this fall.   Eric Wolita, who operates LPTV station WMNN-LD (Cadillac) told the MAB that he is “cautiously optimistic” that his station will be able to avoid displacement or otherwise suffer any significant impact as a result of the repack.

Wolita recently wrote an article on the spectrum auction and its impact on LPTV stations in TV Technology.  Read here.

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