Time Warner has filed an application with the FCC to sell its lone TV station, WPCH Atlanta, to Meredith Corp. Meredith has been operating the station for Time Warner, so it would not be a big change.
The purchase price is $70 million, according to the agreement, which was filed with the FCC today (Feb. 23).
Meredith has a JSA with WPCH--—formerly Turner's Superstation WTBS—for more than 15% of ad time, so it already has an attributable interest in the station. It already owns WGCL-TV Atlanta.
AT&T has said its deal to purchase Time Warner would not have to be filed with the FCC—which presupposed the sale of that station, since if the license transferred to AT&T, the FCC would have to review it on public interest grounds.
Time Warner has some other FCC licenses—for internal links between CNN field trucks and studios—but AT&T has signaled those will not be part of the deal either.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai would not comment on whether the FCC would use that WPCH sale to get at the larger AT&T-Time Warner merger, but that would appear unlikely from the deregulatory Republican.
There had been speculation that Time Warner would either have to sell the station or place it in a trust to avoid the FCC review.
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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.