Spectrum Auction Planning Grants

New applications are no longer being accepted. Check this page for updates about this initiative.


CPB Television Community Service Grant recipients in good standing


January 31, 2015

Grant Guidelines

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting ("CPB") will make matching grants of up to $50,000 to eligible public television licensees to help management obtain the professional expertise and analyses needed to make informed decisions about participation in the planned FCC spectrum auction, and to engage boards and community members in strategic discussions about their options. This grant program is part of a multi-pronged effort by CPB -- the Supporting Healthy Stations' Spectrum Auction Planning Initiative -- that includes a series of informational webinars, spectrum auction decision-making tools and access to national spectrum experts.
Please download the Grant Guidelines below for detailed information, including application requirements.
PDF icon Grant Guidelines165.61 KB

Questions from Potential Respondents, with CPB Answers:

FAQ Topic: 

Can the board resolution required in the Eligibility section take the words directly from the guidelines (i.e., "The Board of Station X commits to apply a substantial majority of any auction proceeds it receives toward activities that benefit public media")?

Yes, this would be sufficient for meeting eligibility requirements. However, given that this is a competitive grant program, it might be more compelling if the resolution reflected deeper and more specific board considerations of how proceeds could be used.

Will the grant cover costs already incurred?

No, previously incurred costs cannot be included in the total project cost.

When will grants be awarded?

We anticipate that some awards will be made as early as March 2015. In order to expedite the grantmaking process, CPB will expect all grantees to agree to standard Terms & Conditions without modification.

Is there a preferred budget template?

A detailed budget is not required for the application process, only a total project cost. However, grantees will be required to track and report on project expenses and match (see answer to Question 4 above).

We understand that staff costs are not eligible; however, consultant and attorney fees are, correct?

Yes, that is correct.

Is the six month timeline still the expectation, even with recent talk of the auction date being moved to early 2016?

Yes. We still expect the FCC's deadline for applications to participate in the auction to occur in the fall of 2015; grantees will need to have conducted the majority of their due diligence by that point.

What if our initial expense estimates in the grant application are wrong?

The total project cost figure you submit in your grant application should reflect your best estimate of expenses for the project. (In terms of tracking expenses for the grant, see answer to Question 4 above).

What if our station ends up not doing a channel share and/or not entering the auction? Do we have to return funds received from the grant?

No. This is a planning grant program. It is intended to support station management in obtaining the expertise and analyses needed to make an informed decision, and to engage their boards and community members in strategic discussions about their options.

Does CPB know how many stations will apply for funds through this program?

No, we're not able to know that until the application due date.

Is CPB looking for specific details about the options we are considering—such as particular negotiating issues relevant to the different stations we might approach to share channels—or would a general statement about using the grant funds to develop partnership agreements suffice?

While all the specifics need not be included in your application, CPB does need to understand, broadly, the complexity and volume of the planned work. In this example, it would be helpful to include the number of stations with which you might negotiate and to generally describe the nature of issues being addressed.

Are staff costs (for coordinating and implementing this project) allowed to be represented in the total project costs if the station is contributing that portion of the staff's salary? They are not costs that will be covered by any CPB grant award, but to exclude them from the cost of the project does not offer an accurate project budget.

Staff costs are not considered eligible expenses for the grant or the match, and should not be included in the total project cost submitted in the application. Please see answers 4 and 5 above.