FCC Approves Time Warner's WPCH Sale to Meredith

Transaction part of plan to avoid FCC review of AT&T-Time Warner merger

The FCC has approved the sale of Time Warner's WPCH Atlanta (formerly Turner's WTBS) to Meredith for $70 million.

The application was filed in February and was part of the strategy to avoid FCC review of the AT&T-Time Warner merger.

Had Time Warner still owned the station, AT&T would have had to submit the merger for FCC review of that license transfer instead of simply submitting it to the Justice Department for antitrust review. The FCC's review goes beyond whether a deal is anticompetitive to look at its pro-public interest benefits. 

Meredith has a JSA with WPCH for more than 15% of ad time, so it already has an attributable interest in the station. It already owns WGCL there, but the market is large enough to accommodate duopolies.

Time Warner has some other FCC licenses—for internal links between CNN field trucks and studios—but AT&T had signaled those will not be part of the deal either. 

The assignment of license was granted April 14, but the FCC had not yet released the public notice of the approval at presstime Tuesday.