SEATTLE — Community organizations and King County elected officials will demand a report on the fallout of the sale of the public airwaves Tuesday at a Metropolitan King County Council meeting in Seattle. The actions of TEGNA — the company that recently bought KING 5-TV and its unfair treatment of unionized workers that has gotten attention in Portland and across the nation — demonstrates why the communities’ interests must be protected as the FCC prepares to auction broadcasting frequencies to corporate speculators.
TAKE A STAND! All are encouraged to show their support for IBEW Local 46, IATSE Local 600 and the public airwaves in calling for an investigation of the community impacts of the TEGNA business model. Attend Tuesday’s meeting at 9:30 a.m. at 516 Third Ave., 10th Floor, in Seattle.
Community supporters, along with elected representatives will present a motion to the King County Council Government Accountability and Oversight Committee demanding a report on the potential impact of the impending broadcast spectrum auction on the hundreds of thousands of taxpayers, residents and businesses of King County.
The upcoming auction of federally licensed broadcasting frequencies led by the FCC has raised alarm among the community, council members and labor groups for a number of reasons. Corporate speculators of the public airwaves are looking to make a big profits without regard to the potential impact the purchase and reshuffling would have on local residents and businesses. Handing such a valuable public asset over to the highest bidder has the potential for irreparable damage to the community that depends on these emergency spectrum airwaves in case of a public disaster.
The auction is scheduled to begin on March 29 and concerned groups believe local stations like Seattle’s KING 5 are first in line to be auctioned off by greedy speculators.
King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove is sponsoring the motion. Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant and former Councilmember Nick Licata are also supportive and spoke out against the possible sale of the public air space at town hall meetings last September.
Labor groups that support the effort include the Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME Council 28, UFCW Local 21, IBEW Locals 46 and 77, SPEEA/IFPTE Local 2001, IATSE Local 600, Teamsters Local 117, as well as the M.L. King County Labor Council and Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.