The nationwide auction did result in the sale of stations in Pittsburgh, Cleveland-Akron, Buffalo and Youngstown, Ohio.
No Erie television stations will be going off the air as a result of the Federal Communications Commission's Broadcast Incentive Auction.
The two-year-long auction concluded in March and the FCC recently published a list of the television stations nationwide that agreed to sell all or part of their over-the-air frequency to wireless or satellite providers. Thirty-six stations received more than $100 million for their spectrum, with Chicago's WWTO-TV receiving the most: $304 million.
"Either none of the local bids were high enough or it was broadcast spectrum that wasn't needed (by the wireless and satellite providers)," said Tom New, chief executive of WQLN-TV, Erie's public television station.
Stations in surrounding communities were sold through the auction, including eight in Pittsburgh, five in Cleveland-Akron, three in Buffalo and one in Youngstown, Ohio. Some of these stations will go off the air, while others will move to lower-power frequencies or share a transmitter with other stations.
Congress approved the auction as a way to free up frequencies and resell them to the wireless and satellite providers, who have said they need more spectrum to meet growing demand. The auction generated $10.05 billion in revenue to participating stations.
"Consumers are the real beneficiaries, as broadcasters invest new resources in programming and service, and additional wireless spectrum opens the way to greater competition and innovation in the mobile broadband marketplace,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a news release.
At least one Erie station will be affected by the auction, though viewers will likely not notice any changes.
In September 2019, WQLN — which identifies itself as Channel 54 — will switch from broadcasting on channel 50 to channel 27 as part of the FCC's "repack" to organize the broadcast spectrum, New said.
"We put a signal in our over-the-air broadcast that tells your TV we are Channel 54, and that won't change," New said. "Viewers who watch us over the air with an antenna might have to rescan their TVs, but we will notify people ahead of time."
David Bruce can be reached at 870-1736 or by email. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNbruce.