Spectrum Auction Planning Grants - Second Round

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


CPB Television Community Service Grant recipients in good standing


March 24, 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 station 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 Guidelines593.94 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.

Does CPB have specific consultants that you'll want grantees to use?

No, each applicant should select its own consultants.

What types of funds can be included in the match?

Matching funds should be "cash," meaning they are cash paid by the grantee (or paid with funds donated to the grantee to offset costs of a specific item) for expenses related to eligible grant activities.

How should matching expenses be tracked?

Grant recipients will be required to maintain appropriate financial records to properly account for the revenues and expenses incurred in completing the project. The records should be sufficient to: verify all costs; disclose the amount and use of CPB funds and the amount/nature of the match; and, permit an effective audit. Grantees will also need to ensure that any agreements with consultants require those consultants to keep records of CPB funds and to grant audit rights to CPB.

Can in-kind expenses by included?

In-kind expenses (such as services donated to the grantee by a third party) may be considered in very unusual or compelling circumstances. Note that the following expenses are NOT eligible under any circumstance: indirect, administrative, staff or equipment purchases.

Will the grant cover costs already incurred?

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

When will grants be awarded?

Awards for the initial grant round are being made in March 2015. Awards for the second grant round will be made in May. 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.

Does the entire grant amount and match have to be spent during the six-month grant term?

Yes. CPB will only match eligible expenditures for activities conducted during the term.

We are planning to participate in the auction and wish to undertake legal and engineering research to decide whether to pursue channel sharing or a move to VHF. Would the grant program support this kind of comparative evaluation work?

These activities are consistent with the eligible activities listed in the grant guidelines.

Is there any specific guidance on the nature of "community consultation" desired by CPB?

No; it is assumed that local public broadcasters are practiced in engaging with key stakeholders on matters of importance to the community. A description of your consultation process should be included in the grant application.

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.

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.