4 things to know before a decision regarding WKAR-TV is made
The fate of MSU's own WKAR-TV is currently up in the air.
A public forum to discuss the possible auction of WKAR-TV will be held at 7 p.m. on Jan. 11 in room 147 of the Communication Arts and Sciences Building.
WKAR-TV first went on the air in 1954. In addition to being an entertainment platform for many, it has also been an internship opportunity for students.
Here are four things to know prior to the decision being made.
1. WKAR radio will not be affected at all by the possible auction.
The auction only includes the television stations.
2. The Federal Communications Commission TV spectrum "reverse" auction opening bid for WKAR-TV is $206 million.
A "reverse" auction is when the opening bid is the highest price and will most likely drop throughout the auction.
“Because what we know is that the $206, $207 million is the top value," MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said in an interview with Current State on WKAR radio. "So it could decrease in value through the auction because other bandwidth that is more desirable is up for sale and has been purchased."
Simon said MSU needs to think about the future in terms of streaming.
“Well when you think about $200 million and you make it as an endowment, and so that gives you $10 million annually to spend," Simon said. "And think about it in terms of what you could do with $10 million annually."
3. At the Dec. 18 Board of Trustees meeting, a resolution passed granting Simon authority over whether or not MSU will participate in the Federal Communications Commission TV spectrum auction.
The auction will be held spring 2016. However, the auction process will begin March 29. MSU must file an application for the reverse auction by Jan. 12 pending President Simon’s decision for the future of WKAR-TV.
The application due on Jan. 12 does not mean the WKAR-TV spectrum automatically sells.
4. WKAR-TV will no longer be a PBS affiliate if MSU chooses to participate in the auction and give up its broadcast spectrum.
“There is the question of how the community would get PBS content and there's a commitment through the cables and others that they would make available PBS content, if not through us, through some other means," Simon said.
Viewers who do not have cable will lose their signal to PBS in mid-Michigan altogether if the sale goes through, unless another station picks up PBS in the area.