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Appeal Goes Against Matinee Radio

Radio group appealed earlier decision; agency said broadcaster not due any money from Auction 37

In a spectrum auction, anything can happen and you need to be prepared for that, the FCC typically warns broadcasters.

Today, the agency again denied a request to turn money over to Matinee Radio, saying its original decision was correct.

The case goes back to 2005, when Matinee first appealed the Media Bureau decision.

Matinee won construction permits for five Texas FMs in Auction 37. The broadcaster seeks the difference between the 35% new entrant bidding credit it claims and the amount of the bids it paid, net of a 25% credit. Matinee was one of the top 10 bidders by the number of high bids, according to an FCC summary of the auction (see second chart).

Matinee subsequently assigned the permit for KRTS(FM), Marfa, Texas to Marfa Public Radio Corp. in 2007, and assigned the permits for Texas stations KKUL(FM), Groveton, KNOS(FM), Albany, KTXO(FM), Goldsmith and KANM(FM), Magdalena, N.M. to Tango Radio in 2008.

The radio owner wanted a review of the original decision, in which the Media Bureau denied Matinee’s request. Matinee wanted the FCC to declare that an auction applicant’s eligibility for a New Entrant Bidding Credit is frozen as of the deadline for filing a Form 175 in which the broadcaster claims that credit, one that can’t be diminished or lost by the subsequent acquisition of an attributable interest in media of mass communications by the applicant or its attributable interest holders. Matinee felt it was entitled to a 35% New Entrant Bidding Credit for its winning auction bids.

The bureau ruled that according to precedent and public notices for the auction, the post-filing acquisition of an attributable interest in a radio station by two of Matinee’s attributable interest holders reduced its bidding credit eligibility, and that Matinee knew about the policy when the broadcaster took part in the auction.

After reviewing the record, the agency said today the original bureau decision was correct and it stands.