Television broadcasters could cease operations in exchange for millions of dollars

CMU Public Broadcasting's broadcast tower in Mt. Pleasant.

CMU Public Broadcasting’s transmitter tower in Mt. Pleasant.

Beginning sometime next year, you may have to find your favorite over the air TV station on a different channel.

The Federal Communications Commission is holding an auction this spring to sell bandwidth on the TV spectrum to cell phone companies.

Television stations all over the country are being invited to sell their channels. Prices may go into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Tuesday is the deadline for stations to apply to be in the auction. It’s a non-binding move, but it indicates their interest to move forward with the process.

CMU Public Television is among the stations who have applied for the auction. Steve Smith is a spokesman for Central Michigan University, who holds the license for the stations. He says the board of trustees voted in December to apply for the auction.

“It’s kind of like throwing your hat in the ring until you decide if you want to put any of our five television stations up for auction,” said Smith. “And that’s what’s at stake here, we have the five television stations Mt Pleasant, Flint, Cadillac, Alpena and Manistee. So that will be the decision that we will make moving forward.”

Smith says the University is interested in hearing public comments.

“We do know that this is an important issue for a number of people around the state of Michigan,” he said. “And they do have an opportunity to write to the University and voice their opinion on what we might consider as we make the decision as to participate or not.”

The first part of the TV spectrum auction is scheduled to begin March 29.

The public is invited to submit public comment on the CMU Public Television network directly to the Central Michigan University Board of Trustees. The board can be reached at

Comments can also be sent to:
CMU Board of Trustees
106 Warriner Hall
Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859