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KRCB garners huge windfall from FCC auction

February 17, 2017
Public station to receive almost $72 million to switch channels to clear more space on spectrum

Local public television station KRCB has nearly 72 million reasons to move.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in a national effort to clear television airways for future use by the wireless telecom industry, will make a one-time payment of $71,979,802 to KRCB to move to a different channel on the spectrum. 

Television stations throughout United States were given the opportunity to modify and/or abandon their FCC broadcast licenses as part of the effort to clear airwaves for reassignment. 

The FCC designed an auction process, funded by the wireless industry, to compensate stations that were willing to give up their channels (spectrum) completely, move to another portion of the spectrum or share broadcast channels with a partner. 

The auction brought in around $20 billion.

Wireless providers such as AT&T and Verizon are expected to take over the relinquished spots on the broadcast spectrum.

In the coming months, KRCB will have more information to share about the impact of the FCC’s realignment of the airwaves on KRCB.

“We are encouraged by the outcome of the FCC process, and gratified that the strategy to participate in the auction will help secure the future of KRCB as a trusted and independent source of news, information and ideas for the North Bay community,” said KRCB founder, President and CEO Nancy Dobbs. 

“The auction funds will allow us to begin to establish an endowment, the interest from which will allow KRCB to weather difficult times in a fast-changing technological landscape, and will help with operational costs in the coming decades.”

Board Chairman Eric McHenry stated, “Throughout the process, the Board of Directors felt that KRCB has a unique position in the North Bay, and an excellent legacy of service. We have an obligation to continue to be the voice of the community and focus on content critical to the region. $72 million is a tremendous amount of money that provides KRCB with a significant opportunity for positive growth and to improve our service to the community.” 

This development comes at a time when the value and importance of local, non-commercial media is essential. PBS and NPR are two of the most trusted institutions in America, and KRCB is a local presenter of these public media services to viewers and listeners in the North Bay.

KRCB North Bay Public Media, a member station of both the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) on Channel 22 and National Public Radio (NPR) on FM 91.1, were established in 1984. The station operates on a yearly budget of $2.8 million and is supported by donations, sponsorships and money from the federal government.

The agreement goes into effect next year, and KRCB will still use Channel 22 but no longer by UHF transmission. It will go to a weaker signal via VHF band, which will limit its over-the-air viewing to Sonoma County only. North Coast viewers can still see programming with cable and satellite subscriptions, and the NPR station will not be impacted.