For winning incentive auction bidders who are party to a pre-auction channel sharing agreement (or their hosts), it’s time for you and your attorney to re-read the agreement and begin a dialogue with your channel sharing partner as to implementation. On the other hand, if you are not party to a pre-auction channel sharing agreement, but are interested in channel sharing, the FCC permits post-auction channel sharing, so you can start making calls to see what opportunities may be available in your market. In addition, some channel sharing agreements may still be terminable (perhaps until the release of the Closing and Reassignment Public Notice) – in these cases you may want to contact other stations in your market and assess your options to determine if perhaps a more favorable channel sharing opportunity is available. With the quiet period ending a few days ago, station owners are now actively doing their due diligence to canvass the market and see what circumstances exist post-auction.
As a refresher, under a channel sharing agreement the sharee party (who was a winning bidder in the auction) retains its broadcast license and is granted the right to use a portion of the capacity of the 6 MHz channel of the sharer/host station–most likely in exchange for a share of auction proceeds or a fixed fee arrangement. The percentage allocation of the host station’s capacity is negotiated by the parties and does not have to be 50/50. Some channel sharing agreements also permit one or both parties to enter into sub-sharing agreements to further divide up the available bandwidth among stations in the market.
For those implementing channel sharing agreements, there are a number of business issues to consider. Continue Reading