Granite unloading WB affils

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Granite Broadcasting Corp. said it was putting its WB Television Network
affiliate in San Francisco, KBWB-TV, up for sale.

Earlier, Granite had put its Detroit WB station, WDWB(TV), on the block.

Speaking to media analysts on a teleconference call Tuesday, Granite CEO Don
Cornwell said the company would prefer to swap the two WB stations for ABC, CBS,
NBC or Fox affiliates in midsized markets.

The recent court ruling tossing out the broadcast-cable cross-ownership rules
-- which also said the Federal Communications Commission had failed to justify
the 35 percent cap -- is a precursor to more industry consolidation, he
said.

'That forces us to re-examine our business model, and we are actively
exploring opportunities to change the mix of our station group,' and to align
the portfolio with 'our core management strength,' Cornwell added.

That strength, he said is 'Big Three (or 'Four') affiliates, and not WB
stations.

Separately, Granite officials said they have targeted April 1 to close the
sale of KNTV-TV in San Jose, Calif., to NBC.

A possible wrench in the works on that transaction is Paxson Communications
Corp., which has asked the FCC to hold up the deal as part of its wider
complaint against NBC for alleged rule violations.

But Granite argued that Paxson's issues aren't related to and should have no
bearing on the KNTV transaction.

Almost $230 million of the $267 million Granite will get from NBC will go to
pay down debt, the company said.

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