2 Dayton-area TV stations sell spectrum to FCC for $47.3 million

Some TV stations are selling their broadcast frequencies to the federal government in exchange for millions in compensation.

Two Dayton-area TV stations participated in a government auction.

WBDT, or the Dayton CW, received $27.3 million and WKOI received just over $20 million, according to an FCC incentive auction list.

The auction was created to free up bandwidth to help meet growing capacity needs for wireless technology. The idea is to open new wireless spectrum to “greater competition and innovation in the mobile broadband marketplace,” the FCC said at the close of what it called “the world’s first (broadcast) incentive auction.”

In some cases, stations may be moved to new channels.

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Among those stations the FCC listed as set to “go off air” are WBDT and WKOI, a TBN station in Richmond, Ind.

But WBDT’s general manager said Friday that the station will not go off the air or even move to a new channel.

Joe Abouzeid, president and general manager for WDTN and WBDT, said the auction outcome should have no effect on viewers. He confirmed the station’s participation in the spectrum auction, but called it an “engineering exercise more than anything else.”

“The net effect is that there should be no net effect for viewers,” Abouzeid said. “They shouldn’t even really have to re-scan their TVs. It’s an engineering exercise.”

For questions about why the company took part in the auction, Abouzeid said those choices were made “on a corporate level,” and referred questions to the stations’ owner, Nexstar Media Group Inc. Nexstar become WDTN’s parent company in January.

Ohio University also agreed to move WOUC-TV in Columbus to a low VHF frequency for $18.4 million, the list indicates.

Messages seeking comment were sent to a spokesman for TBN, Trinity Broadcasting Network, which owns WKOI, and the FCC.

In a statement, the FCC said Thursday it raised $19.8 billion in the auction. The FCC also said it has kicked off a 39-month “transition period” to move broadcast stations to new channel assignments.

A total of 50 winning bidders won 70 megahertz of licensed spectrum nationwide, including T-Mobile, Dish and Comcast.

The auction, which started last year, will pay out $10 billion to 175 TV broadcasters that sold off their licenses, the Associated Press reported. Those broadcasters go off the air or move to new channels. Other stations will be affected, too, and roughly 1,000 will have to move channels over the next few years, the AP said.

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