Texas consumers brought into incentive auction loop


The controversy surrounding the possibility of incentive spectrum auctions in order to free airspace for mobile broadband has to date been an inside-baseball issue – red hot among stakeholders, and off the radar among consumers. But the people of Beaumont-Port Arthur have recently received a primer on the topic.

An article at orangeleader.com reminded readers of the uncertainty they faced just a few short years ago during the digital transition and warned them that the cycle may well be kicking in again in the near future.

The search for spectrum was explained in very general terms, and consumers were informed that the results could be loss of local news service, emergency information and high-quality programming. It also noted that the ability of surviving broadcasters to innovate may be damaged, and referred interested readers to NAB’s www.thefutureoftv.org for further information.

Management from Freedom Communications’ CBS KFDM-TV and Nexstar’s Fox KBTV-TV commented. Neither expressed any interest in abandoning the airwaves in the Beaumont-Port Arthur market – and in fact, KBTV is planning to make good use of its digital capabilities and full slice of spectrum by finding an in-market home for soon-to-launch African-American network Bounce TV on a side-channel.

Orange Leader explained how often consumers use spectrum, noting that before they leave the house for work in the morning, they may have tuned in a radio station, a television station, fired up a laptop computer, made a cell phone call, heated something up in the microwave and used a garage door opener.

RBR-TVBR observation: The NAB has been taking steps to bring consumers up to speed on how another round of spectrum reallocation may affect them personally. It will serve broadcasters well to participate in the effort with all due enthusiasm – the business you save may be your own.