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FCC Allows Amarillo Duopoly

The FCC has waived its duopoly rules to allow co-ownership
of two stations in Amarillo,

The FCC said Friday (Jan. 29) it would approve the sale of
Univision affiliate KEYU-TV Borger Texas (Amarillo)
to the owner of KFDA-TV Amarillo, even though the market will not have eight,
independently owned stations after the deal is done.

The approval came in the form of a failing station waiver
after the parties demonstrated that, among other things, the station had been
losing between $300,000 and $450,000 per year for the last three years and had
a negligible share of audience--never over a 1.5%  share in the past three

The new owners also said that, because KEYU will share
production facilities, the station for the first time will be able to produce
local programming, as well as news and weather alerts.

KEYU is owned by Equity Communications, which tried to sell
it as part of an auction back in April of all of its TV stations, but nobody
was interested. Another criteria for waiving the duopoly rule is that there has
to be no buyer whose purchase would not violate the rule.

"We find that the combined operation of KEYU and
KFDA-TV will pose minimal harm to our diversity and competition goals,"
the FCC concluded, "because KEYU's dire financial situation hampers its
ability to be a viable voice in its market.  Under these circumstances,
allowing KEYU to be operated by a stronger station in the market will improve
KEYU's facilities and local programming, an outcome which clearly benefits the
public interest."

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.