LIN locks in its newly acquired TV satellite stations


LIN MediaThe acquisition of the New Vision Television group by LIN included satellite stations attached to flagships in Honolulu and Wichita. As usual, it triggered a satellite status review by the FCC.

Besides those two DMAs, LIN bought stations in Birmingham AL, Mason City IA, Portland OR, Topeka KS, Savannah GA and Youngstown OH. The $342.4M deal was accepted by the FCC 5/14/12.

In Honolulu, KHON is augmented by satellites KHAW Hilo and WAII Wailuku. And in Wichita, KSNW is augmented by KSNC Great Bend.

It is FCC policy to never let a satellite station sale go unexamined, so despite the fact that the flagship-satellite relationships were already FCC-approved, the process was kicked off again following the LIN/NVT transaction.

Larry Patrick was brought into the matter as an expert witness. Regarding the Hawaii stations, he stated that the unique nature of the multi-island state “mandates the use of multiple satellites to properly serve the viewing public.”

Regarding Wichita, Patrick noted that 2/3 of the state of Kansas is considered to be part of the Wichita-Hutchinson DMA, and the existence of two full-power satellites is standard operating procedure for all of the major network affiliates operating there.

The FCC allowed the waivers to continue.

RBR-TVBR observation: Here is a notice of proposed rulemaking that would help streamline Washington:

Whenever a television station with FCC-approved satellites is sold to a new qualified licensee, it shall be taken as a given that the FCC knew what it was doing when it granted satellite status in the first place. Giving the FCC credit as an expert government agency, when it approves the sale of the flagship station and its satellite(s), the satellite status of the relevant station(s) shall be passed along to the new licensee without further regulatory review.

There – wasn’t that easy? We saved everybody – broadcasters, the government and hence, taxpayers — some time and money. Think kindly of RBR-TVBR when you’re spending the savings on something more useful than proving that a satellite station is a satellite station.