The San Mateo Community College District has chosen two Colorado organizations as finalists in the bidding process of its deficit running television station KCSM-TV.
No date has been set because the district is still in the process of negotiating with the potential buyers.
"We’ll know who we sell to when we finalize all the information,” said Marilyn Lawrence, KCSM General Manager.
Bidders were chosen and eliminated on their ability to meet FCC regulations to acquire the license to buy a local station such as KCSM-TV.
Noncommercial stations must be bought by non-profit organizations, so bidders had to have the appropriate tax paperwork to qualify. Buyers must also meet local education and programming regulations. Bidders were also judged on their financial capabilities to see if they had enough money for proper licensing and operation.
The two finalists are FM Media and San Mateo Community Television Corp., both groups from Colorado.
The Locus Point Networks and KAXT were two bidders that were turned down.
“We questioned whether they were nonprofit organizations,” said Lawrence.
KMPT-TV, Channel 32 in San Francisco, was turned down because they had very little upfront money and wouldn’t get a broadcasting license until 2013, said Lawrence.
Of the three bidders who met FCC requirements, two were chosen to undergo further review.
To buy a local station, the media group who is trying to make the purchase has to set up a locally based organization to comply with FCC regulation.
Many of the bids were submitted by entities created by bigger corporations specifically to bid on local stations outside of their jurisdiction.
Media Alliance, a group that follows the sale of community media outlets, filed a public information request to make the list of bidders public.
“There was a list of bidders, but we don’t know who’s who,” said Executive Director of Media Alliance Tracy Rosenberg.
DayStar Television, a Christian broadcasting network submitted a bid under the name Community Educators TV of Orange County; but they did not make the cut.
FM Media, one of the two finalists, is part of Public Media Center/Public Radio Capital. Historically it has been a license broker. They arrange the buying and selling of stations to conglomerates –– such as National Public Radio, for expansion.
The concern of lost diversity in local broadcasting that Media Alliance expressed
about those stations buying KCSM-TV when the bidding process began still exists, said Rosenberg.
San Mateo Community Television Corporation is a new local base for Independent Public Media, an organization established to “promote progressive social change,” according to the IPM website.
The sale of KCSM-TV includes the lease for Sutro Tower transmitter and the FCC license associated with the station. The decision to sell the station has been made by the district board over years of study and the station’s inability to eliminate its deficit.