Fox, Cox Swap Stations

Fox said Tuesday it has struck a deal, subject to FCC approval, to trade its owned stations in Memphis and Boston—WHBQ and WFXT, respectively—for Cox's KTVU and KICU in San Francisco.

Cox will retain the Fox affiliations in Boston and Memphis, according to Fox. KTVU San Francisco is already a Fox affiliate, while KICU is an independent.

Fox has the NFC package, so the move will give it a bunch of 49ers' games on KTVU, rather than the handful of Patriots games it had in Boston.

“The addition of KTVU and KICU to our portfolio of owned-and-operated stations provides us with a compelling growth opportunity in a top-10 market,” said Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations, in a statement. “Our stations group will benefit from both the strong demographics of the Bay area market as well as the alignment with our package of sports rights. I’d like to also take this opportunity to acknowledge the talented Boston and Memphis teams for the great work they do. We are confident they will be in good hands with our partners at Cox.”

“This is the first time we have had a media presence in Boston and Memphis, and CMG is excited about the prospects that WFXT-TV and WHBQ-TV bring to our business,” said CMG president Bill Hoffman in announcing the swap. “These new stations fit nicely into CMG’s broadcast portfolio, and we look forward to having a great news presence in these two markets and competing hard with the fine local broadcasters who already reside there.” 

Fox said it won't need any waivers to own the San Francisco duopoly.  

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.