An impending affiliation switch is behind a federal antitrust lawsuit between two station groups, B&C reports. Nexstar Broadcasting Group has filed the suit against Granite Broadcasting and one of its stations, the story reports.
At the heart of the suit, the story says, is a Fox affiliation switch, with Granite’s WISE-TV in Fort Wayne set to take over the Fox affiliation Aug. 1 from Nexstar’s WFFT-TV, which will become independent.
Nexstar said the lawsuit seeks "to remedy the anticompetitive impact that has been caused and will be caused by Granite’s efforts to monopolize local advertising sales in the Fort Wayne, Indiana, Designated Market Area resulting from exclusive affiliate agreements Granite has executed with two of the four major television networks. As a result of Granite’s efforts and its shared services agreement with Malara Broadcasting in the Fort Wayne, Indiana, Designated Market Area, Granite will control local television advertising sales for stations affiliated with the Fox, NBC and ABC networks, as well as the CW and MyNetwork TV networks."
The story notes: “WISE is currently an NBC affiliate. WISE airs MyNetworkTV on its .2 channel, while Malara’s WPTA is an ABC affiliate with the CW on its .2. Granite manages the Malara stations, which jointly operate under the ‘Indiana’s NewsCenter’ banner.”
Nexstar and Fox have been embroiled in a fight over affiliation agreements, with Nexstar’s KSFX-TV in Springfield also losing its Fox affiliation.