BGSU announces public forums on FCC Incentive Auction/WBGU-TV

Bowling Green State University has scheduled two forums on WBGU-TV and the upcoming FCC Broadcast Spectrum Incentive Auction. The University is seeking public input as it weighs if, and how, it may participate in the auction, which is slated to be held in early 2016.

A forum will be held in Findlay at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, in the Multipurpose Room (Room 117) of The Community Wellness Building, on the Findlay-area campus of Owens Community College.

A second forum will be held in Lima at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3, in the Keese Hall Multipurpose Center on the Rhodes State College campus.

A third forum, to be announced later, will be held at BGSU in late August after students and faculty return to campus following summer break.

The incentive auction is the result of the growing use of smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices and the increased demand for spectrum, the over-the-air radio frequencies where all wireless communications like television, radio and wireless phone service travel. To meet this national need, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking to repurpose the 600 MHz spectrum, currently used for UHF television signals, for wireless use. To accomplish that, the FCC will hold a voluntary incentive auction providing UHF broadcasters the opportunity to sell their spectrum usage rights.

BGSU is eligible to participate because it owns a UHF broadcast license for its public television station – WBGU-TV.

If the University chooses not to participate, WBGU-TV will likely be involuntarily moved to another channel in the UHF spectrum following the auction. There are number of alternatives for participating – from moving to the VHF spectrum, channel-sharing with another station, or ceasing broadcasting altogether.

According to Dave Kielmeyer, BGSU chief marketing and communications officer, the forums are the next step in the University’s decision-making process.

“We are carefully weighing the impact of each potential option on the broader community and the University’s mission,” Kielmeyer said. “President Mary Ellen Mazey and members of our board of Trustees are keenly interested in the thoughts and feedback of WBGU-TV’s members, its viewers, and the public. No decision has been made.”

Kielmeyer added that the University is awaiting final auction rules from the FCC, expected later this fall, before deciding if, and how, to participate. The auction is slated to take place in early 2016.