Toledo TV transfer gets FCC nod


SoldThe sale of WUPW-TV to American Spirit Media, filed during January of 2011, has finally been approved by the FCC. The buyer, who is acquiring the station from LIN Media, already has an SSA with Raycom and its WTOL in place. It’ll the fifth market where the two license companies have paired up.

The deal between LIN and American Spirit came in at $22.112M according to the contract filed with the FCC.

The deal made news in Toledo when seller LIN informed an Ohio agency that the sale would result in 63 layoffs.

Typically, an SSA, or shared services agreement, calls for the merging of operations, which creates redundant staff positions and leads to smaller staffing levels and greater operational efficiency for the partnering stations. Raycom will be able to sell advertising for WUPW, and American Spirit will receive a base monthly payment from Raycom just a bit shy of $111K.

WUPW is the local Fox affiliate, and WTOL brings CBS to Toledo citizens.

The other markets featuring an American Spirit/Raycom duo include:
* Richmond VA, where ASM owns CW WUPV and Raycom owns NBC WWBT
* Columbus GA, where ASM owns Fox/MNT WXTX and Raycom owns ABC WTVM
* Wilmington NC, where ASM owns Fox WSFX and Raycom owns NBC WECT
* Ottumwa IA-Kirksville MO, where ASM owns Fox KYOU and Raycom owns ABC KTVO

The watchdog community opposes the Toledo SSA and others like it, citing the loss of diversity of viewpoint among local journalism outlets. The FCC is expected to make an examination of such arrangements part of its to-do list when tackling the 2010 quadrennial review of broadcast ownership regulation.