FCC transaction applications were necessary to take Tribune’s television and radio holdings into Chapter 11, and according to a report, there will soon be new filings to get them back out. The report comes from a media outlet that should know – the company’s own Chicago Tribune.
The company owns one major AM radio station and 23 television stations.According to the report, the company’s iconic Chicago media trio – WGN-AM, WGN-TV and the Trib – has been granted a permanent waiver.
According to the Trib, the deal taking the group into Chapter 11 exposed other cross-ownership clusters held together by FCC waivers to disbanding, in Los Angeles, where it owns CW KTLA-TV and the Los Angeles Times; South Florida where it owns CW WSFL-TV and the Sun Sentinel; and Hartford CT, where it owns Fox WTIC-TV, CW WTXX-TV and the Hartford Courant. It is also noted that CW WPIX-TV New York may come up, since Tribune retains a small stake in Newsday, most of which now belongs to Cablevision.
Whenever an FCC license is transferred, special arrangements such as cross-ownership waivers and flagship/satellite station relationships are generally reviewed by the FCC.
On the radio side, the change in market definitions that resulted in a 2003 media ownership rulemaking forces grandfathered oversized station clusters to be brought into compliance with new definitions. That situation will not come up in this case.