NAB: EOBC Is Being Alarmist About Auction

Says NAB represents ‘true’ broadcasters

National Association of Broadcasters' executive VP of strategic planning and point man on the spectrum incentive auctions, branded the concerns about station pricing expressed by Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition (EOBC) Executive Director Preston Padden at a Hill hearing last week as Chicken Little alarmism.

Padden had said that the FCC risked the success of the auctions by not giving stations more information about what they could expect to receive from the government for that spectrum.

In a blog posting Monday, Kaplan said that there was no cause for alarm. "The sky is not falling. Broadcasters [Kaplan said NAB represented the 'true' interest of broadcasters] are patient, digesting what emerges from the FCC and recognize that this is a long, complex process."

"So, when Congress, the FCC and the public ask where broadcasters stand, and how can we ensure success for the auction – both for participants and non-participants – they should look to NAB and [the Association of Public Television Stations]. These associations represent America's television broadcasters – not just companies that happen to hold licenses – and are focused on both the short- and long-term success of the industry."

Padden's coalition represents more than 70 stations interested in putting spectrum up for auction at the right price.

NAB has been asking the FCC not to rush the auction, while the coalition has been urging it not to drag its feet. Both want more information, Padden on prices and timing, NAB more focused on how stations will be repacked, protected and compensated for moving. Both are committed to a successful auction, though they have different definitions of success.

"I love the NAB and have the greatest respect for its leadership," Padden told B&C. "Auction-based payments to broadcasters, based on wireless spectrum values, are the 'incentive' that will drive the success of the Incentive Auction and our Coalition genuinely is committed to that success."