A group of low-power TV stations denied participation in the upcoming broadcast-spectrum incentive auction has asked the Federal Communications Commission to stay the March 29 start of the incentive auction.


That is according to a document filed at the FCC. In the Feb. 29 filing, Videohouse, Fifth Street Enterprises and WMTM, representing Class A TV’s all denied either participation in the auction or protection in the post-auction repack, filed an emergency motion to stay the auction.


The request came after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted expedited hearing of their challenge to the FCC’s decision to exclude them, but not expedited enough for the case to be resolved, or even argued, before that March 29 date.


The request means the auction would have to be delayed by months, as the court has not even scheduled oral argument until sometime in May.


They told the FCC they are likely to win their court appeal and that the balance of harms and the public interest support a stay. They said the auction was a once in a lifetime opportunity. “[I]n contrast to the irreparable harm that petitioners will suffer without a stay, the FCC will suffer little — or likely no — harm if the auction is delayed while this matter is litigated,” they said.


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