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San Bernardino Community College District and KVCR-TV

Frequently Asked Questions: FCC Spectrum Auction

1) What was the FCC’s broadcast incentive auction?

Since fall of 2015, the San Bernardino Community College District (SBCCD or District) – which holds KVCR-TV’s broadcast license – had been a participant in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) voluntary broadcast incentive auction. The incentive auction was a nationwide effort, authorized by Congress, to free up bandwidth for the growing demand of mobile and wireless providers.

The broadcast incentive auction itself was comprised of two separate but interdependent auctions — a reverse auction, which determined the price at which broadcasters would voluntarily relinquish their spectrum usage rights; and a forward auction, which determined the price companies are willing to pay for flexible use wireless licenses to deliver high-speed data services.

Broadcasters had four options to participate in the reverse auction, depending on their current channel assignment:

  1. Voluntarily relinquish all of its spectrum rights, and completely exit over-the-air broadcasting, in exchange for a share of the auction’s financial proceeds;
  2. Voluntarily move to a different over-the-air broadcast television channel/frequency in exchange for a smaller share of the auction’s financial proceeds;
  3. Bid to relinquish its current channel in order to share a channel with another broadcaster after the auction; or
  4. Do nothing, continue broadcasting over-the-air in its present television band, and receive no share of the auction’s financial proceeds. 

SBCCD and KVCR proceeded with option “B.”

2) When did the incentive auction take place?

The broadcast incentive auction began on March 29, 2016 and still continues for companies bidding on wireless licenses, but it is has formally concluded for television broadcasters like KVCR participating in the reverse auction portion. 

3) Why did SBCCD and KVCR-TV participate in the FCC’s broadcast incentive auction?

As the holder of KVCR-TV’s broadcast license, the San Bernardino Community College District chose to participate in the FCC spectrum auction to keep open the possibility of receiving critical one-time financial funding to bolster KVCR-TV’s ability to continue providing the world-class programming that Inland Southern California deserves, as well as to help advance the educational mission of our college campuses.

4) How does the incentive auction impact KVCR-TV?

San Bernardino Community College District – which holds KVCR-TV’s broadcast license – expects to receive $157,113,171 resulting from its voluntary participation in the incentive auction. The financial proceeds reflect the FCC’s acceptance of the District’s bid to agree to transmit KVCR-TV's over-the-air TV signal using a very-high frequency (VHF) channel instead of its current ultra-high frequency (UHF) channel.  KVCR-TV will continue to broadcast its  free, over-the-air, PBS programming both before and after its transition of UHF to VHF.

5) So this means KVCR-TV will remain broadcasting over-the-air, 24-7, just as it does today, plus it will receive financial compensation? 


6) How does the technical transition from UHF to VHF impact my viewing of KVCR-TV through my cable or satellite provider? 

Anyone viewing KVCR-TV today through a cable or satellite provider will still receive the same content, in the same manner, before and after the broadcast frequency transition.

7) Will I be required to purchase a new digital television (DTV) antenna for my television? 

KVCR-TV viewers who currently receive the signal over-the-air, or who plan to do so after the transition, must have a DTV antenna capable of receiving television stations in the VHF Low Band (Channels 2-6).

To learn more, visit:  

8) KVCR-TV offers multiple sub-channels, including FNX, PBS Create, etc. Will I continue to receive those?

Yes. KVCR-TV will continue to broadcast all of its sub-channels using its new over-the-air VHF broadcast license, and cable and satellite operators will continue to offer all of KVCR-TV’s sub-channels before, during and after the transition.    

9) How does the migration from broadcasting in the UHF Band to broadcasting in the VHF Band impact KVCR-TV operations? 

KVCR will need to make certain technical and physical changes to its signal broadcasting facilities in the future. However, the in-studio operations of KVCR-TV and the quality programming KVCR delivers to its loyal viewers will not change.

10) When must KVCR-TV complete its technical transition from the UHF Band to the VHF Band? 

The FCC has established a 39-month transition period for television stations to complete their mandatory signal broadcasting facility changes. It has yet to be determined by the FCC when KVCR-TV must complete this transition, but the station does not expect it to happen until sometime in 2018. 

11) How will I know when the over-the-air signal changes from the UHF Band to the VHF Band? 

KVCR-TV intends to send out periodic notices through its public website, via social media and also over-the-air regarding the progress of its transition and/or when the transition will be complete. 

12) Does the FCC broadcast incentive auction impact KVCR-FM’s radio programming broadcasting on 91.9 FM?

No. The FCC’s broadcast incentive auction does not involve the license or broadcast frequency used by KVCR-FM and listeners will continue enjoying on-air programming on 91.9 FM.

KVCR-FM’s operations will remain unchanged, and programming will continue to originate from the station located on the San Bernardino Valley College campus.

13) When will SBCCD receive FCC auction proceeds?

SBCCD anticipates it will receive auction proceeds in the current calendar year.

14) What will SBCCD do with its auction proceeds? 

A portion of the auction proceeds will be set aside to invest in KVCR and cover mandatory expenses necessary to transition its technical broadcast facilities from the UHF to the VHF band, including the purchase of new station equipment, engineering modifications to KVCR-TV’s broadcasting antenna/tower, and other legal and administrative costs related to compliance with the terms of the FCC auction. 

The SBCCD Board of Trustees, elected to make sure the District meets the needs of the community, is developing a strategic financial plan to ensure the remaining auction proceeds are invested and utilized to advance the educational mission of SBCCD and its college campuses.

15) As a KVCR donor and supporter, will my contributions continue to make a difference?

Now more than ever, as a non-commercial public broadcast station, KVCR needs you. Though this one-time funding has created a welcome opportunity for SBCCD and KVCR, federal conversations about future funding for public media like PBS and NPR have created uncertainty.

As the broadcast industry continues to undergo transformative changes, we remain thankful to KVCR’s growing base of loyal supporters, whose generosity enables us to provide award-winning journalism and cultural programming across Inland Southern California and beyond since its beginning in 1962.

We will continue working with our community and establishing new partnerships to strengthen our educational, civic and social fabric and deliver the world-class programming that Inland Southern California deserves. The public’s support — whether it’s through small or large contributions — will continue to fuel KVCR’s ability to work around the clock for the benefit of our region and ensure the station is alive and vibrant well into the 21st century.