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Michigan TV stations may opt to take part in FCC auction

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Some Michigan TV stations may sign off the air next year, for a price.

Mobile phone companies need more space in the broadcast spectrum to meet the public’s growing demand.

To meet that demand, theFederal Communication Commission plans to auction off TV frequencies next year.

“For all practical purposes, we’ve fired the starting gun,” says FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.  

Michigan TV station owners have to agree to sell. If they do, a license could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  

For example, the FCC has set an opening bid for WXYZ in Detroit at $483 million. But not all Michigan stations would be in line for major paydays. 

The FCC set the auction price of WBKP in Marquette at $3.9 million.

Station owners have until December to decide if they would be willing to go off the air if their license sells at auction.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.