Phipps flips Lima low-power cluster


The Lima OH market is limited to only two full-power television stations, which is how West Central Ohio Broadcasting Inc. will be able to get three major networks and one upstart all in one fell swoop. It’s paying TV 67 Licensing/Metro Video Productions $2.3M cash and another $100K in a non-compete with sellers Gregory and Kathleen Phipps for an LPTV fourpack. The deal also settles litigation over the rights to the Fox affiliation in Lima. Three of the LPTVs are in Lima: WOHL-CA (Ch. 25, Fox/MNT), WLMO-LP (Ch. 38, CBS) and WLQP-LP (Ch. 18, ABC). The fourth, WFND-LP (Ch. 22, indy) is in Findlay OH, part of the Toledo DMA. West Central is headed by Allan J. Block and Gary J. Blair. Block’s Block Communications already owns one of the full-powers: NBC WLIO, plus it has CW on a WLIO digital side channel.

RBR/TVBR observation: There is no prohibition to adding low power anythings to a local broadcast cluster. However, when Schurz set up a similar deal in South Bend IN recently, it attracted national attention from watchdogs. It may here as well. However, there are few markets where LPTVs are enough of  a factor to set up this type of situation.