FCC OKs Sinclair Purchase Of 7 Bonten TVs

The commission also granted Sinclair's request that KCFW Kalispell, Mont., continue to operate as a satellite of KECI Missoula, Mont., under the satellite exception to the duopoly prohibition in smaller markets, those with fewer than eight independent voices.

The FCC has approved Sinclair Broadcast Group’s purchase of seven full-power Bluestone Television stations from Bonten Media. The deal was announced in April, shortly before Sinclair agreed to buy Tribune Media’s stations for $6.6 billion.

The commission also granted Sinclair’s request that KCFW Kalispell, Mont., continue to operate as a satellite of KECI Missoula, Mont., under the satellite exception to the duopoly prohibition in smaller markets, those with fewer than eight independent voices.

The Bonten stations:

Station Affil. Market DMA
WCYB NBC Tri-Cities, TN-VA 98
KRCR ABC Chico-Redding, CA 132
KECI NBC Missoula, MT 164
KCFW NBC Missoula, MT (simulcasts KECI) 164
KTXS ABC Abilene-Sweetwater, TX 165
KTVM NBC Butte-Bozeman, MT 185
KAEF ABC Eureka, CA 195
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“Given that KCFW is the only full-power television station in its community of license, is located in a community of license with limited economic viability, and is costly to operate as a stand-alone station, it is unlikely that an alternative operator would be willing and able to purchase or operate the station as a stand-alone facility,” the FCC said. “Moreover, KCFW has operated as a satellite of KECI under Commission authority for almost 50 years, most recently reauthorized in 2007 in the Missoula DMA, and we see no evidence in the record that continuing the satellite exemption will harm competition in that market,” the FCC added.

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Veteran broadcaster Randy Bongarten, backed by the Diamond Castle private equity firm, formed Bonten Media in 2007 by purchasing Bluestone Television for $230 million. The old Bluestone station still form the backbone of the group.

Through duopoly partner Esteem Broadcasting, Bonten added Fox affiliates in Greenville, N.C., and Chico-Redding, Calif. Esteem owns the stations, but Bonten operates them through joint sales and shared services agreements.

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Dan Levitt says:

July 3, 2017 at 8:23 am

Sinclair will be the poster child for the collapse of Local TV. There’s just no future in owning literal brick and mortar stations – so foolish

    kendra campbell says:

    July 3, 2017 at 9:06 am

    As long as there are car dealers and politicians eager to throw money away – local TV stations will be just fine.

    Bo Berezansky says:

    July 3, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Geez, that’s so true… how many times I’ve heard the excuse that everything’s going to hell because the dealers association cut back TV spending or the political race was so one sided that there was no ad money coming from political… kinda glad I’m out. But… GO SINCLAIR!

    Dan Levitt says:

    July 3, 2017 at 11:11 am

    as long as there are Ad Sales people that will sell phantom eyeballs that is. But the cutting of longtime network and local anchors is a key indicator of things to come, very soon.

    alicia farmer says:

    July 3, 2017 at 11:35 am

    The gullible car dealers only care about seeing themselves on the TeeVee. The politicians and their action committees are clueless. Ad sales folks dreams come true.

Brian Bussey says:

July 3, 2017 at 9:44 am

could this only be about retrains dollars. ?

Jayson Siler says:

July 3, 2017 at 11:35 am

Local TV’s business model is moving from ad sales to rent seeking…

Allison Coquet says:

July 3, 2017 at 11:36 am

You’re either misinformed or crazy if you think local stations are going away anytime soon.

    Dan Levitt says:

    July 3, 2017 at 11:41 am

    wow, that’s amazing because viewership is half it was 5 years ago
    hate to INFORM You

    alicia farmer says:

    July 3, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Retrans $ extortion demands increase. Commercial glut grows. Demo ratings continue downward. Local news content defined by crime, car wrecks, and non-stop weather hype. What me worry?

Dan Levitt says:

July 3, 2017 at 11:52 am

the day i see a millennial walk into a “Store” and buy a “TV” will be the day I agree that “TV isn’t going away”.

    Veronica Serrano Padilla says:

    July 4, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Well, plenty of millennials are buying TVs – but they’re buying smart TVs to stream their Netflix, Amazon, etc. …

    Dan Levitt says:

    July 4, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    those aren’t Millennials, the oldest millennials are just graduating college in the last few years and Not married yet – oh yeah, AND they don’t have jobs…. whatever money they have is from mom & dad

Dan Levitt says:

July 4, 2017 at 10:36 pm

Correction: I was referring to “Generation Z” (born 1997 onward). the media gets lazy and refers to the young teen & college generation as Millennials (Technically those who are actually born around 1980-1995). Between “generation Z” and their cord-cutting parents and grandparents and steady decline of TV Sales, I-Phone, I-pad and PC sales – yes, I think Sinclair needs a wake-up call – they’re going the wrong way

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