By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A local public TV station in Philadelphia will “sign off the air” and give up its broadcast license as part of an auction conducted by the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC created the auction to free up bandwidth to accommodate the growing capacity needs of wireless technology.

Independence Public Media of Philadelphia, which operates WYBE Channel 35 and MiND, says they received $131 million in exchange for the license, according to CEO Howard Blumenthal.

“So, MiND, or channel 35, will be going off the air by the end of the year,” he said.

He says Independence Media will continue as a non-profit as it develops a strategic plan for the future.

“I hope we’ll be available on other TV channels, and certainly on the internet streams 24/7,” Blumenthal said.

All told, nearly 200 public, commercial, religious, and ethnic TV stations took part in the Incentive Auction to relinquish their licenses, or enter into channel-sharing agreements, in exchange for a share of the proceeds.

For example: Comcast, which owns Telemundo, says three of its stations will vacate their spectrum in Philadelphia, New York, and Chicago, receiving more than $481 million.

But in each case, Comcast says it retained the channel with the superior coverage and will channel share in respective markets, like WWSI with WCAU in Philly.

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