FCC takes TV to auction

Bidding limited to license applicants

WASHINGTON — The FCC decided Friday to put about 130 TV licenses on the auction block, but bidding will be limited to individuals and companies who have already applied for the licenses in question.

The FCC decided that selling TV licenses to the highest bidder was a better way to hand out licenses than trying to decide who is the best-qualified applicant. The decision only applies to TV licenses where there are two or more applicants. And in most cases, the licenses are for TV frequencies that are not currently in use.

In its decision, the FCC also said that it would award minorities and women who own no broadcast properties a 35% bidding credit in the auction. The bidding credits are an effort to bolster minority ownership of broadcast properties. Less than 3% of broadcast properties are owned by minorities or women. Minorities and women who own three or fewer media properties will get a 25% bidding credit.

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