The FCC Thursday approved the sale of 24 Disney (ABC) radio stations to Citadel. As part of the deal, Citadel has agreed to shed 11 of its current stations so that it does not exceed FCC local-ownership caps.
Citadel will transfer the 11 stations into a trust and seek an immediate buyer, a condition that made the approval palatable to FCC Democrats concerned about consolidation.
Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps said he would be watching the trust's efforts closely. The commissioners said the 11 stations on the block would be an opportunity to seek out minority and women buyers.
Paving the way for the approval, Citadel has entered into a consent decree to settle allegations of pay for play that include a fine and more transparency.
Commissioner Robert McDowell said that the sale was a case of companies deconsolidating, pointing out that there is no overlap between the Disney and Citadel stations. McDowell and Chairman Kevin Martin called the sale of the 11 stations a terrific opportunity for minorities and other new entrants to enter the marketplace.