Don’t think over-the-air reception as “cord cutting” continues to grow isn’t a key concern in the C-Suites of the nation’s biggest broadcast television companies?
Think again. In Georgia, Gray Television is securing a trio of LPTVs to give two of its full-power stations a boost. Concurrently, TEGNA has reached a deal with a major Hispanic-targeted media company that will give it improved signal coverage in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.
The deals show just how valuable UHF signals have become in a digital TV world.
An asset purchase agreement dated Sept. 18 and filed Friday with the Commission shows that Estrella Media will sell KMPX-TV, licensed to Decatur, Tex., to TEGNA.
The deal is valued at $19 million, and will allow TEGNA to shift its ABC affiliate, WFAA-8, from digital channel 8 to KMPX’s digital channel of 30.
KMPX will retain its digital channel of 29, once it finalizes its future plan. The deal includes an option agreement giving Estrella Media the right to purchase WFAA’s VHF facility. It also includes an affiliation agreement placing Estrella TV, the Burbank, Calif.-based company’s Spanish-language broadcast TV network, on a KMPX digital multicast until the option agreement is executed, allowing viewers to continue seeing both KMPX and WFAA following a rescan of their TVs should a digital broadcast antenna be in use.
With the shift from analog to digital transmission of broadcast TV signals in the U.S., VHF signals became less desirable, as signal contours tend to be lesser than that of UHF signals. Hence, this deal and the Gray transaction also posted in the FCC’s CDBS on Monday.
That said, renewed attention from Democrats over the restoration of the “UHF discount” — tied to its media ownership rule review conducted by the Pai Commission — could accelerate as the Supreme Court this week is expected to determine whether or not it will hear the FCC’s appeal of the Third Circuit’s remand of its cross-ownership rule rewrite.
A HOLDBACK AMOUNT IS SEEN
Terms of the transaction call for $18,735,000 to be paid by Gray at closing. That’s because $265,000 is being withheld from the purchase price and is being retained in a segregated account until repair work to the station’s facilities is completed.