Yes, Stage 3 of the FCC’s Reverse Auction is in progress, heading into Round 20 on Monday morning as part of an acceleration plan that sees three hour-long bidding sessions each day, which began on Nov. 7.
Yes, the FCC is holding back on approval of any TV transaction until the spectrum auction is complete.
Yes, that’s not stopped Gray Television‘s Northern Lights Media from consummating a deal that gives it three television stations in Fairbanks, Alaska.
In an announcement made this week via its NBC-affiliated KTUU-TV 2 in Anchorage, Gray is purchasing Fairbanks’ NBC affiliate, KTVF-11; CBS affiliate K13XD-D, a low-power station at Channel 13; and Fox affiliate KFXF-7.
The joint seller is Tanana Valley Television Co. and Chena Broadcasting.
The deal is valued at $8 million.
“Our stations are a natural fit,” said Bill St. Pierre, of Tanana Television and Chena Broadcasting. “We both share the vision of community service and commitment to being a trusted and independent news source.”
KTUU-TV GM Andy MacLeod said, “This deal makes sense on a number of levels,” and allows KTUU to increase its coverage of interior Alaska through common ownership with three stations in Fairbanks.
The purchase is expected to happen “in the coming months,” Gray says.
But with a new administration set to reshape the FCC, will Gray’s suggested market concentration pass muster?
Tanana Valley Broadcasting owns KFXF and CBS13, which also appears on KFXF-7.2. It operates KTVF under a shared services agreement forged between Tanana and Chena owner Michael Young, who was a stakeholder in Tanana before founding Chena.
With a population just shy of 100,000, the Fairbanks market’s other TV station operator is Coastal Television Broadcasting Co., which operates Vision Alaska LLC’s ABC-affiliated KATN-2 and The CW affiliate on KATN-2.2.
A former iOn network affiliate, KDMD-LP, had its license cancelled by the FCC on Dec. 17, 2015.
That leaves KUAC-9, the local PBS affiliate.