Esteem Broadcasting filed to acquire WFXI-TV Morehead NC & WYDO-TV Greenville NC from Piedmont Television back in March for 5.885M. They operate in the geographically expansive Greenville-New Bern-Washington NC DMA as flagship and satellite, both carrying Fox programming. As the new licensee, Esteem was forced to defend this arrangement. Aided by testimony from BIA’s Mark Fratrik, Esteem was able to show that WYDO would be unlikely to survive on its own as in independent station, so even though it failed to meet some criteria under which flagship-satellite relationships are granted, it was allowed to continue to operate as it had under prior ownership.
TVBR/RBR observation: This is a routine process every time such a combination is sold. We would suggest that if it were possible to operate otherwise, a smart owner would put independent programming on the satellite and increase income. If that is not what is happening, there is no doubt a very good economic reason for it, and if there is no compelling third-party objection, we would just waive such operations through without further fuss and muss.