FCC Okays Journal Request for Green Bay Duopoly Waiver
Will allow it to buy WACY-TV Appleton (Green Bay)
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/4/2012 4:06:25 PM
Journal has already been providing all of WACY's programming under a grandfathered local marketing agreement -- dating back almost two decades -- and argued in seeking the license transfer.
Ordinarily, since Journal's purchase of WACY would not leave eight independently-owned stations in the Green Bay market, it would be prevented from owning both stations. But the FCC also has a waiver for so-called "failed stations," which are stations that are either dark or in financial straits (bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings) or that it concludes would be without the financial help of a new owner.
The FCC concludes in approving the license transfer that Journal has demonstrated that the then-bankrupt WACY was a failed station before the LMA and that it was restored to service "only through the financial assistance and operational efficiencies generated by the LMA. As a result, both WACY-TV and WGBA-TV have been able to produce and broadcast programming that furthers the public interest."
While in other circumstances, the failing station waiver relates to the condition of the station when the transfer application is filed, in the case of the purchase by a buyer who has been operating a second station pursuant to a grandfathered LMA, the showing "may be based on circumstances existing just prior to the parties entering into the LMA," not the circumstances prior to the filing of the application.
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