After 30 years, ALTV nears its end

Jan 28, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Citing financial duress, the executive committee of the Association of Local Television Stations last week approved a plan to pull the plug on the organization, sources said.
The proposal is subject to a vote of the organization’s full 17-member board of directors. But key sources expect board approval during a conference call this week.
At deadline, Jim Hedlund, ALTV’s longtime president, was declining comment, but sources attributed the executive committee’s decision to the loss of key ALTV members and a soft advertising market.
Among the broadcasters that bailed out of the organization last year was Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns and operates 63 TV stations. In addition, Univision Communications dropped the memberships of the 13 USA Broadcasting stations after the Spanish-language network acquired that group.
However, the final blow, according to sources, was a recent decision by News Corp. to drop the ALTV memberships of its recently acquired Chris-Craft Industries TV stations.
The 10 Chris-Craft stations had long been among ALTV’s strongest financial supporters, providing an estimated 15 percent of the association’s $2.2 million annual operating budget.
ALTV, which has a staff of five, was founded in 1972 as the Association of Independent Television Stations to represent the interests of stations unaffiliated with a network.
With the creation of Fox, UPN and The WB, the group changed its name to accommodate the interests of stations affiliated with emerging networks.
ALTV has often shared goals with the National Association of Broadcasters, the industry’s major remaining lobbying group.
But one industry source said ALTV would be sorely missed in part because it gave broadcasters a way to keep the NAB in check.