The Federal Communications Commission is proposing that whoever wins its big auction of airwaves be required to give free wireless Internet to the entire country, the WSJ says on A4. Wireless companies oppose the plan, of course, but it also has other doubters.

Early skeptics of the plan note that the FCC’s last attempt to place strict conditions on an auction didn’t work out very well. Earlier this year, wireless companies spent upward of $20 billion to buy airwaves that will be left vacant in 2009, when the U.S. transitions to digital-only television broadcasts. But bidders stayed away from one block of airwaves, which the FCC had set aside to be shared with police and firefighters.

Bellwether bid for Weather Channel

The FT says a buyout bid for the Weather Channel shows how much has changed in deal-land in the last year. The bid by NBC Universal, Bain Capital, and Blackstone Group, will be somewhere between $3 billion and $4 billion, but more than half of that will be equity.

During the credit bubble, companies often put up about 15 percent in equity, it says, though some real estate deals were at 5 percent or less.

Time Warner is also bidding for the weather station.

Countrywide prez gets canned

Bank of America—finally—said it won’t keep Countrywide’s president after it acquires the sloppy lender, the Los Angeles Times and WSJ report. The exec, David Sambol, will get $28 million for getting pushed out the door.

The LAT has our What Is a Bottle Washer? Quote of the Day, from Senator Chuck Schumer:

“Countrywide did more to contribute to the sub-prime mortgage crisis than anyone else,” Schumer said. “It always amazed me that Bank of America, which has a fine reputation, would want to keep someone who was in effect Countrywide’s chief cook and bottle washer on the scene.”

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.