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Tribune gets extension for 2nd Hartford station - Broadcasting & Cable

Tribune gets extension for 2nd Hartford station

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Tribune Television received an additional six months to sell WTXX(TV)
Waterbury, Conn., in order to comply with Federal Communications Commission
restrictions on TV duopolies and local broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership.

Tribune was under orders to sell the station by Feb. 6, but the company told
the commission its efforts to sell the United Paramount Network affiliate failed
to garner acceptable offers 'in the range' of a broker's appraisal.

Tribune also owns local station WTIC-TV and the Hartford Courant
newspaper. Tribune purchased the newspaper as part of its acquisition of
Times-Mirror Co. in June 2000. At the time, WTXX's acquisition from Counterpoint
Communications was pending at the FCC.

Agency rules forbid owning a TV station and a newspaper in the same market.
Still, Tribune won't have to choose between owning WTIC and the Courant
until 2007.

Additionally, the FCC forbids TV duopolies in markets like Hartford, Conn.,
where there are fewer than eight separately owned TV stations. Temporary
ownership of WTXX was allowed because the station is considered to be
economically failing.

FCC commissioner Michael Copps 'reluctantly' agreed to the additional
six-month waiver and said he has no intention of voting for repeated grace
periods.

Still, it's unclear whether Tribune will ever be forced to sell any of the
Hartford properties. The FCC is currently reconsidering its restriction on
newspaper cross-ownership, and the duopoly 'voice test' is being challenged in
court.

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