Clear Channel Worldwide Wednesday won Federal Communications Commission
approval for its $775 million purchase of The Ackerley Group, which adds 16 TV
stations and four radio outlets to its stable.
The radio and outdoor-ad giant becomes the 17th-largest TV group,
with a total of 40 stations in 28 markets.
The FCC allowed Clear Channel 12 months to divest enough stations to comply
with limits on local radio/TV cross-ownership, despite opponents seeking to
limit the divestiture timetable to the standard six months.
The deal violates cross-ownership restrictions in five markets: Eugene Ore.;
Santa Maria, Calif.; and New York markets Binghamton, Rochester and
Clear Channel said it needed the extra six months to sell the stations
because the media recession has damped lenders' willingness to finance station
acquisitions. The FCC said the additional time would do little harm because each
market has many independent media voices.
Democratic commissioner Michael Copps opposed the extra divestiture time,
arguing that the markets are too small to warrant favorable treatment. Among the
five, Syracuse is the largest DMA at No. 71.