Jeff Warshaw’s Connoisseur Media complains that Clear Channel is stockpiling stations that should be divested in the Aloha Station Trust, and because of that, it wants CC’s acquisition of Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR-AM in New York turned down, among other things.
Connoisseur believes that Clear Channel is well past the six month term under which Aloha should have sold all the stations the company was forced to divest when it was taken over by a group of private equity companies, including Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners.
Because of that, Connoisseur says that the FCC should not grant the sale of WOR.
Furthermore, the FCC should not grant renewal of the license for WHTZ-FM Newark NJ. The items were couched as informal objections.
Clear Channel notes that it has in fact sold the vast majority of the stations that were placed under the care and feeding of Aloha. It said it has been a difficult task in the current trading environment, and that environment has made it impossible to sell all of them.
It further stated that Connoisseur’s use of WOR and WHTZ to press its case against Aloha was a “strange and incongruous pairing,” since Aloha is not involved in the WOR transaction and is not the licensee of WHTZ.
The FCC agreed – it noted that Connoisseur provided no transaction-specific reasons to deny the acquisition of WOR, nor did it detail any reasons why WHTZ is undeserving of a license renewal.
The FCC agreed with Clear Channel – that neither of the stations have anything to do with Aloha – and neither have any place in a complaint about the failure to divest Aloha stations in a timely manner. The FCC also stated that Clear Channel was qualified to be the licensee of both stations. It denied the Connoisseur complaint and approved the WOR deal.