Saturday – November 18, 2017

FCC Auction Results FAQ

What is the FCC broadcast incentive auction?

With the proliferation of wireless technology, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched the broadcast incentive auction to free up bandwidth for wireless uses. Every television station in the U.S. had the opportunity to participate in the voluntary auction.  

Why did MATC participate?

In October 2015, the MATC District Board, as the license holder for Milwaukee PBS, made a strategic decision to participate in the auction.

After receiving input from legal counsel and broadcast industry experts, the District Board concluded that it was in the best interests of the college and Milwaukee PBS to participate in the auction.

How does the incentive auction impact MATC and Milwaukee PBS?

As a result of our participation, MATC will receive $84,931,314 in one-time proceeds, which will be dedicated to furthering the public missions of MATC and Milwaukee PBS.

The MATC District Board and college leaders are carefully considering the best investment strategy and process that will maximize the impact of the proceeds for the long-term benefit of the college, Milwaukee PBS and the community. 

Why haven’t I heard about this before?  

It was reported in 2015 that the MATC District Board decided to participate in the auction. Under mandatory FCC rules, we have been unable to discuss the status and outcome of our participation until the official results were made public.

What is “spectrum”?
The generic term “spectrum” refers to the frequencies used to transmit signals for a wide-range of uses, including television broadcasting, radio, as well as wireless devices, such as smartphone and tablets.

How does the auction outcome affect Milwaukee PBS?

MATC’s District Board – the license holder for Milwaukee PBS Channels 10 and 36 – submitted a successful bid to vacate the spectrum on which Milwaukee PBS Channel 36 resided and instead combine the transmission of both Milwaukee PBS stations, Channels 10 and 36, on its remaining very high frequency (VHF) channel spectrum. 

This auction will have no impact on the viewing experience of Channels 10 and 36. Through technological advances, Milwaukee PBS is able combine the transmission of both Milwaukee PBS stations, Channels 10 and 36, on its very high frequency (VHF) channel spectrum. 

How does this affect how I watch my programs on Milwaukee PBS? 

This auction will have no impact on the viewing experience of Channels 10 and 36. 
Viewers who access Milwaukee PBS programming today through a cable or satellite provider will still receive the same content, in the same manner, before and after this transition. 

For cable and over-the-air viewers, Milwaukee PBS will continue to broadcast other channels including Create, World, PBS Kids, and the weather services on Channel 10.4.  

As a viewer of Milwaukee PBS, is there anything I need to do? 

Yes. After Milwaukee PBS completes the technical upgrades, viewers will be instructed to rescan their television sets. It is a simple step to make sure viewers get access to all the community and educational programming they have come to depend on and enjoy on Channels 10 and 36. Milwaukee PBS will provide advance notice and instructions on how to rescan your television sets.  

When will MATC receive the proceeds?

We expect to receive the proceeds in late 2017 or early 2018.

What will MATC do with the proceeds? 

The District Board and college leaders are reviewing investment strategy options that will maximize the impact of the proceeds for the long-term benefit of the college, Milwaukee PBS, and the community. 

The funds will be used to advance MATC’s educational mission of transforming lives, industry, and community. Strategic priorities include: 

  • ensuring the continued financial sustainability of MATC and Milwaukee PBS; 
  • addressing workforce needs in our community; 
  • making a college education affordable and accessible for more people; and 
  • continuing the high-quality community and educational programming on Milwaukee PBS.

As a Milwaukee PBS donor, will my contributions continue to make a difference?  Do you still need my support?  
Absolutely! Now more than ever, as a non-commercial public broadcast station, Milwaukee PBS needs you.  As the broadcast industry continues to undergo transformative changes, we remain thankful to Milwaukee PBS’ growing base of loyal supporters, whose generosity enables us to provide award-winning journalism and community-based programming. 

As a donor to the MATC Foundation in support of student scholarship and workforce development programs, do you still need my support? 
Absolutely!  Your donation to the MATC Foundation, Inc., provides direct support for student scholarships and academic program expansion. Many scholarship recipients are first generation college students. The support of all our loyal donors – no matter their giving level – remains critical to providing the education and training necessary to prepare people for careers that matter the most to our economy. We will continue working with the community to develop partnerships that support workforce development and job growth in our region.