California station reaps $72M in spectrum auction proceeds

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The licensee of KRCB in Rohnert Park, Calif., will receive $72 million from the FCC spectrum auction by moving its signal from UHF to VHF.

The station’s location between San Francisco and Sacramento was “considered prime real estate by mobile providers,” station COO and chief engineer Larry Stratton said in a report that aired on KRCB-FM. “KRCB has beachfront property on two oceans,” he said.

Nancy Dobbs, CEO of license North Bay Public Media, said the proceeds will be used to make “a significant change in our engineering” in anticipation of the frequency switch. “New equipment must be purchased and installed and that’s very expensive,” she said.

The remainder will go into an endowment, Dobbs said. She said she does not know the specific amount because vendor contracts have not been set.

The station relies on some $500,000 annually from CPB. “Interest off the endowment will help replace those funds” if federal money is cut “or bolster our mission going forward,” she said.

The FCC spent the past nine months auctioning off 84 megahertz of spectrum for $19.6 billion to wireless providers.

Meanwhile, Ball State University revealed Monday that it did not participate in the auction. The Indianapolis school, which operates WIPB, had previously expressed interest in the auction.

“We determined that selling the spectrum at this time would not be in the best interest of the university,” spokesman Phil Repp said in a statement.

The station’s channel will shift in the post-auction repack.