Media Bureau offers guidance on filing anonymous incentive auction comments

The FCC Media Bureau released a notice Dec. 18 offering guidance for TV broadcasters wishing to file comments regarding the agency’s spectrum incentive auction Notice of Proposed Rulemaking without disclosing their identities.

The FCC recognizes that broadcasters may have “a legitimate interest” in not revealing their identity in comments filed related to the auction process, the notice said. Congressional authorization of the commission to conduct the broadcast incentive auction requires the FCC to take all reasonable steps needed to protect the confidentiality of broadcasters participating in the reverse auction. The FCC noted that broadcasters also may have an interest in not disclosing their identity in comments regarding incentive auctions.

According to the notice, broadcasters can file comments anonymously both via paper or electronically, as long as they have an attorney of record. If a broadcaster wishes to file electronically without an attorney of record, it must seek a waiver from the agency [of 1.419(e)].

The FCC is requesting that anonymous broadcast filers “provide sufficient basic information” so the agency and the public can “understand and evaluate” their positions, the notice said. The notice provides examples of the types of such information, including the market tier of the station or whether the station is independent or a network affiliate.