Bidding less than vigorous for a Kona FM station
A FUTURE FM station in Kailua-Kona has drawn a bid of $165,000 through four days and 14 rounds of bidding in the latest Federal Communications Commission auction.
Pretty lukewarm stuff, considering that bidding in previous FM auctions has reflected what former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan might have called "irrational exuberance."
Millions have been bid on radio construction permits, allowing winners to spend millions more to conduct engineering studies, buy equipment, construct stations, hire staff and maybe-just-maybe operate successfully to get some ROI flowing in.
The biggest bid in recent auctions was the $7.1 million by College Creek Broadcasting Inc. for the right to build a station in Mesquite, Nev., during Auction 37 in November 2004. The highest bid for a Hawaii construction permit at that time was the $2.2 million bid by Wyoming-based Kona Coast Radio LLC, for a station in Wahiawa.
That auction lasted 62 rounds over 14 days and saw 110 bidders win 258 permits. The gross bid total was $178,001,500 -- not a bad fortnight's work for the government.
In the most recent FM auction, No. 68 in January, Maui-based Visionary Related Entertainment LLC had cast its winning bid of $1,109,000 for a Kihei CP by round 13 of the 23-round auction.
The amount made Visionary the high bidder in the auction and was a huge chunk of the gross $3,663,000 the FCC took in for the nine construction permits over five days.
The Kona station, when built, will be at 96.7 FM. So far, Visionary Related Entertainment and Hilo-based New West Broadcasting Inc. have cast bids, but mainland-based broadcast veterans and wannabes have asserted their interest as well.
The auction continues today.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com