Alaska Dispatch News, TVNewsCheck

Station Owners in Battle Over Group’s Effort to ‘Take Control’ of Market

Dec 4, 2015  •  Post A Comment

A station group’s effort to buy two TV stations has met resistance from another station owner in the market. The Alaska Dispatch News reports that GCI, a telecom firm that owns CBS affiliate KTVA-TV in Anchorage, has taken its case to the Federal Communications Commission.

GCI reportedly petitioned the agency to block an effort by Gray Television to acquire both KTUU-TV and KYES-TV in Anchorage.

“In a petition filed to the Federal Communications Commission in mid-November, GCI said Gray Television, a Georgia-based company, was attempting to take control of Anchorage’s television market. GCI claimed Gray’s purchase of both stations would be a breach of FCC policy,” the story reports.

Gray announced plans to acquire KTUU, an NBC affiliate, back in September. Gray is reportedly purchasing KTUU from Schurz Communications for $445.5 million, with the purchase still awaiting FCC approval.

In the latest filing, GCI says Gray’s acquisition of KTUU will give it the dominant station in the Anchorage market. KYES-TV is the MyNetworkTV affiliate in Anchorage.

Gray is fighting back over GCI’s complaint. TVNewsCheck reports that Gray has asked the FCC for a “failing station” waiver to permit the acquisition of both KTUU and KYES. In its own FCC filing, Gray says it believes its acquisition would enable it to improve programming and services at both stations.

Gray also takes a shot at GCI in the filing, saying: “Rather than welcome a new company and new investment to its hometown at a time of historic economic headwinds for Alaska, GCI bears its brass knuckles to Gray … with an obvious strike pleading filled with speculative nonsense and erroneous statements of fact and law. Unfortunately, GCI’s naked effort to preserve the outsized profits that result from its truly unprecedented dominance across the communications markets in Alaska will only harm the local communities that Gray seeks to serve.”


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