MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University’s public television station, WNMU TV 13, will be participating in an auction to sell broadband spectrum.
The auction conducted by the Federal Communications Commission has two components to it. A forward auction where cell phone companies and wireless providers can purchase additional spectrum. The other component is a reverse auction which broadcasters can have the option to sell some of their spectrum.
“We’re participating in the auction to preserve that the station has available,” said WNMU General Manager Eric Smith, “and the second point I think to make would be that the services we offer will not change. We will continue to be on the air, continue to broadcast. It’s just the way we deliver the service potentially would change depending on the outcome of the auction.”
Just like any other auction, WNMU has the ability to exit the auction at any point if they feel the need to do so. As of this time they’ve only committed to being a participant.
“Then we need to be able to review what’s coming back from the FCC and at that point the University Administration will look at the numbers and make some sort of a value judgment whether it’s worth us proceeding.”
Smith added that this is looked at as a once and a lifetime opportunity that may bring more sustainability. They look forward to the potential it brings to continue to improve the services they offer for NMU students and the public. Stations will have an opportunity to solidify their commitment on March 29th.