Rick Kaplan, who has been NAB’s lead player dealing with the impending incentive auctions, asked the FCC to hold open hearings to bring openness and transparency into the proceeding; and asked for a CP freeze to be thawed.
Kaplan made his recommendations in a 7/5/13 ex parte meeting with FCC Chief of Staff Michele Ellison.
Kaplan suggested that a hearing could even be tied into the Commission’s monthly open meeting. In a summary of the meeting, Kaplan wrote, “A series of hearings on critical incentive auction topics will increase openness and transparency, provide opportunities for Commissioners and their staffs to hear directly from industry and the public interest community in the same forum, and help further the Commission’s goal of an expeditious auction that serves the public interest. While any number of topics would be appropriate for such hearings, NAB in particular urged the Commission to follow the National Broadband Plan’s recommendation to inquire further about the impact of the auction on diverse communities.
The NAB finds it unfortunate that television station construction permits have been on hold for three months, and says that the record is complete on underlying issues that led to the freeze in the first place. It involves “…questions surrounding which full power and Class A broadcasters will be protected – and to what extent.”
Kaplan stated, “The record is complete on those issues, and the Commission does not need to wait for other parts of the incentive auction process to make its determinations regarding which stations are protected and what encroachments the Commission can make, if any, on the coverage areas and populations served by TV stations that do not sell their spectrum to the government in the auction.
Kaplan closed by repeating the NAB’s promise to do whatever it can to expedite a successful auction.