Class A television sold in the Big Apple


One of the necessary elements of the FCC’s plan to take 120 MHz of spectrum from the television band and auction it off for other purposes is a pool of willing licensees who will agree to either share a channel with somebody else or leave the business entirely in exchange for a piece of the auction action. The sale of WMBQ-CA New York may offer a peek into what that might mean in real life.

The station is going from Craig L. Fox’s Renard Broadcasting to WMBQ-CA, a subsidiary of Prime Time Partners LLC. The major forces behind Prime Time are Jose Rodriguez and Marisol Messir. Messir has interests in full power television stations in Oxnard CA and Kingman AZ, and a low power in Phoenix AZ.

The price is $5.25M.

The station, which is firmly in the targeted swathe of spectrum at Channel 46, is currently dark, according to the FCC database.

An earlier deal to sell the station, along with another low power – WBQM-LD Brooklyn NY – fell through. That deal was going down for $8M, and the contract for the transaction was dated 8/6/07. But the buyer was Equity Media Holdings, which went bankrupt before the transaction could be completed.

RBR-TVBR observation: If this deal represents the going rate for a low power station that doesn’t even have must-carry rights, how much of an incentive will be needed to induce a full-power licensee to turn out the lights? Food for thought.