PBS SoCal’s KOCE-TV public broadcasting station is among 175 nationwide winners of the Federal Communications Commission’s first-ever Broadcast Incentive Auction.
The auction was authorized by Congress in 2012 to allow broadcasters the opportunity to sell some of their spectrum space (airwaves or bandwidth that deliver television) to fill the growing needs of wireless providers.
KOCE, the flagship PBS station for greater Los Angeles and Southern California, will receive $49 million of a $138 million payout earned through a channel-sharing partnership with Long Beach station KSCI-TV, with the remainder going to KSCI. While KSCI gets the larger portion of the one-time payout, Andrew Russell, PBS SoCal’s president and chief executive, said KOCE will retain two-thirds of the combined spectrum, while KSCI will retain one-third.
Russell said viewers will experience no change in the KOCE viewing experience through the spectrum sale. The payout will result in payments to 12 Los Angeles area stations, including the Los Angeles Unified School District’s station KLCS, KBEH, KRCA, and PBS station KVCR-DT, which serves the San Bernardino Community College District. KOCE plans to use its added revenue to expand its free services across Southern California, he said.
Some stations will not see changes until after a 39-month transition period, and in some cases, local stations may go off the air. The first channel changes will occur Nov. 30, 2018, the FCC said.
At $19.8 billion in gross revenue for 70 megahertz of spectrum, the incentive auction is among the highest-grossing auctions ever conducted by the FCC, the agency said.
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