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FCC Approves Gray TV Purchase of Meredith TV Stations

(Image credit: Meredith)

Rejecting a pair of informal objections, the FCC has approved Gray Television's $2.8 billion-plus purchase of Meredith's TV stations.

The deal is for 16 full-power stations in 12 markets.

Also: Gray TV Buying Meredith Stations in Deal Worth $27 Billion

Gray had to divest WJRT Flint-Saginaw, Michigan, where Meredith also owned a station that would have created a duopoly that violated FCC local ownership rules.

The deal gives Gray a 25% national audience reach, well below the FCC's 39% maximum.

The FCC rejected a complaint from and individual who "express[ed] concern about “consolidation” of the news industry and a “decline in media integrity.” The FCC said that "[m]erely making anecdotal and vague observations about the media industry while rhetorically questioning whether the Transaction would favor the “self-serving interests” of an applicant is not enough to satisfy even the first step of the Commission’s two-part test under the public interest standard."

The FCC rejected the other informal complaint by over-the-air antenna seller Mr. Antenna that Meredith and refused to sell it ad time on KVVU-TV Henderson, Nevada, to advertise its over-the-air antennas, saying: "The arguments raised by Mr. Antenna rest on his allegation that Meredith has a corporate policy against advertisements that promote cord-cutting and that such a policy would continue under Gray’s ownership. Upon review of the record, we cannot conclude, as Mr. Antenna suggests, that such a policy exists, or ever existed, at Gray or Meredith."

The Meredith stations Gray is getting are WGCL and WPCH, Atlanta, Georgia; KPHO/KTVK, Phoenix, Arizona; KPTV/KPDX, Portland, Oregon; KMOV, St. Louis, Missouri; WSMV, Nashville, Tennessee; WFSB, Hartford-New Haven, Connecticut; KCTV/KSMO, Kansas City, Missouri; WHNS, Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina; KVVU, Las Vegas, Nevada; WALA, Mobile, Alabama; WNEM, Flint-Saginaw, Michigan; and WGGB/WSHM-LD, Springfield, Massachusetts.

Jon Lafayette contributed to this report.