The FCC has granted Journal Broadcasting a failing station
waiver of its duopoly rule so the broadcasters can buy independent WACY-TV
Appleton, Wis., which is licensed to the same market (Green Bay) as Journal's
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.