Pittsburgh station sale held up again

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The tangled saga of a Pittsburgh public television organization's effort to
sell one of its two TV stations gained one more twist Thursday when the Federal
Communications Commission asked for public input on WQED Pittsburgh's request to
delist channel 16 from the slate of frequencies reserved for noncommercial
operators.

The group has been trying to sell WQEX(TV) since 1996 in order to raise money
for its other public station, WQED(TV) channel 13.

The organization's request to sell WQEX to a commercial owner five years ago
was rejected by the FCC.

A 1999 attempt to turn the station over to a religious broadcaster fell apart
in the wake of congressional furor over resulting FCC guidelines governing the
operation of noncommercial stations by public broadcasters.

WQED's efforts to turn over channel 16 to any group other than an educational
or public broadcaster has been bitterly opposed by Pittsburgh Citizens for
Independent Public Broadcasting and the Alliance for Progressive Action.

Comments on the petition are due Dec. 18; replies Jan. 21.

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