In a desperate gambit to prevent the delay of the government's pending
auction of TV spectrum, a group of broadcasters hoping to cash in on the bidding
petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to confirm that the sale will
occur as scheduled June 19. Facing pressure from Congress and the White House,
by midweek, the FCC is expected to postpone the auction date.
The delay could deal an expensive blow to Paxson Communications Corp. and
others that stand to make billions of dollars from early buyout deals the
commission is allowing them to negotiate with winning bidders in order to clear
the spectrum quickly.
Many lawmakers and the White House aren't so happy with the prospect of
broadcasters making a boatload of cash selling spectrum rights, and they are
mulling ways to kill the buyout.
Paxson's Spectrum Clearing Alliance -- making it clear that it will fight a
delay in court -- urged the FCC to formally recognize that auction proceeds are
due to the U.S. Treasury Sept. 30 and the deadline cannot be honored unless the
auction is held as slated.
'Follow the law unless the law is changed,' the alliance wrote in its
Legislation to postpone the auction has been introduced with Bush
administration backing in both houses of Congress, but the Senate also has a
competing bill to keep the bidding on track.