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No Job Cuts in Gray TV $91M Auction Take

ATLANTA—Gray Television did not say Tuesday morning which of its 64 TV stations would be affected when it announced expected auction proceeds of $90.824 million. The company did say, however, that operations would not be materially affected, which means the company may be working out channel-sharing arrangements.

“The actions necessary to receive the proceeds will not lead to job losses and otherwise are not expected to produce any material change in operations or results for Gray or for any individual market in which we operate. We will announce the affected station(s) at a later date,” the company said in a press release Tuesday morning, the day after the Federal Communications Commission waived the prohibition on auction-related communications among broadcasters.

Gray has 64 call letter TV licenses in Designated Market Areas ranging from No. 61 Knoxville, Tenn. to No. 161 Paris, Texas. It has duopolies in several markets, including No. 63 Lexington, Ky.; No. 75 Springfield, Mo.; No. 105 Lincoln, Neb.; No. 111, Augusta, Ga.; No. 192 Twin Falls, Idaho; No. 197, Scottsbluff, Neb.-Cheyenne, Wyo.; and triopolies in two: No. 209 North Platte, Neb.; and Minot-Bismarck-Dickinson-Williston, N.D.

Bidding in the fourth-stage reverse auction—where broadcasters provisionally accepted $10 billion for 84 MHz of spectrum—concluded Jan. 13. Bidding in the fourth-stage forward auction—where wireless providers bid to buy that spectrum—began Jan. 18, and quickly met the closing criteria of the auction with $18.2 billion in bids, making the fourth stage the final one.

Auction proceeds as of round 40 of the final-stage reverse auction, which is still in progress, were $19.5 billion. Broadcasters will split more than $10 billion of that amount, plus another $2 billion will be put toward a TV station relation fund and the administrative cost of the auction, leaving roughly $7.5 billion for the U.S. Treasury, about half of the amount Congress estimated to be put toward unemployment in the 2012 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act. (See “Obama Signs Spectrum Auction Authority Bill” Feb. 23, 2012)

See more TV Technology coverage at our spectrum auction silo.