Latina Broadcaster Says FCC Jeopardizing Her 'American Dream' With Exclusionary Spectrum Auction
Despite protesting and filing court action to delay the FCC's spectrum auction because of an eligibility debacle, it looks like Latina Broadcasters of Florida will not be able to participate.
At the end of March, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is set to begin auctioning licenses for telecommunications and broadcasters to use repurposed wireless spectrum, the bands of frequency used to carry cellphone, television and radio signals. Licensing spectrum is vital for the ongoing operations of broadcasters. Without them, there is no medium on which to broadcast.
The auction, which represents a huge reallocation of wireless bands freed up since television broadcasters switched to more efficient digital signals, is set to begin on Mar. 29. One party from Daytona Beach, called Latina Broadcasters, wanted to delay the auction after not qualifying, but it's not looking good for the Latina television broadcaster.
Arguing that the FCC is crushing her "American Dream," Nora Crosby Soto, the owner of Latina Broadcasters of Daytona Beach, an affiliate of Azteca America, tried to delay the FCC's spectrum auction through a court injunction. Crosby Soto filed an emergency motion on Feb. 26 with the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Washington D.C. circuit to delay the auction, after the FCC ruled on Feb. 12 that her organization was not eligible to take part in the auction.
The FCC said that Latina Broadcasters did not qualify and that the FCC had essentially made a clerical error by previously indicating, multiple times, that Latina Broadcasters and its station WDYB-CD in Florida were eligible. While the broadcaster was on an early list of eligible stations, the FCC later said Latina Broadcasters had missed an important filing date to participate.
Given the short amount of time between the FCC flipping its eligibility decision and the start of the spectrum auction, Latina Broadcasters filed to be included in the auction on a provisional basis.
"With the FCC's decision coming just 31 business days prior to the auction's start, the government effectively boxed Latina into a corner, leaving Latina insufficient time to pursue meaningful relief from the courts without asking for a delay of the auction," the party stated, according to industry journal TVNewsCheck. "The FCC does not offer a valid basis to deny either of Latina's options to preserve the status quo. The FCC's unsubstantiated claim that 'allowing Latina to participate on a provisional basis would... delay the incentive auction' is nonsensical."
It's not just the FCC that Latina Broadcasters are fighting. Many organizations that have been found eligible to participate are arguing for the FCC's position, wanting to deny the broadcaster's court request for a stay and encouraging the auction to proceed without delay. The group includes the powerful Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which put in an amicus brief in favor of the FCC.
In a press release put out over the weekend, Latina Broadcasters' chief Crosby Soto, sought help from the Latino community to change the FCC's schedule. In the call to action, the beleaguered company owner emphasized her roots as a Mexican immigrant and called the FCC's actions an affront to her American Dream.
"When Nora Soto crossed the Mexican border at the age of six, guided by a coyote, she never could have imagined that one day she'd be in a battle with one of the most powerful government agencies in the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), just to hold on to her American Dream," read Latina Broadcasters' statement, according to Broadcasting Cable.
"I have worked my entire life and sacrificed much to realize the American Dream," wrote Crosby Soto. "I've done everything to contribute and be an asset to this country. I'm crushed, disappointed, and deeply saddened by the actions of the FCC that will jeopardize everything I've worked so hard to build," she added. "It is my hope that the commissioners of the FCC will do the right thing."
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!