DMAS 65 AND 70

LIN Seeks OK For Dayton, Green Bay Duops

In FCC applications, LIN Media and Acme Communciations followed through with a plan under which Acme would spin off stations in Dayton, Ohio, and Green Bay, Wis. to LIN and an affiliate of LIN's. If the deals win agency approvals, LIN would operate the stations in duopolies with major network affiliates. The pair of stations is priced at $11.5 million.

LIN Media today asked the FCC for a failed-station waiver of the small-market duopoly rule so that it could move ahead with its previously announced purchase of Acme Communications’ CW affiliate in Green Bay-Appleton, WIWB.

The rule bars ownership of two full-power TV stations in markets as small as Green Bay-Appleton (DMA 70), but offers a waiver if the parties can show the station is failing financially.

If LIN gets the waiver, it would operate the station in tandem with its Fox affiliate in the market, WLUK.

The request was bundled with Acme’s FCC applications to sell WIWB to LIN and another CW affiliate, WBDT Dayton, Ohio (DMA 65), to Vaughan Media LLC, one of LIN’s virtual duopoly partners.

If the sale of Vaughan is approved, LIN would operate the station under contract in tandem with its NBC affiliate in Dayton, WDTN.

LIN is helping Vaughan line up the financing and is guaranteeing the loans.


LIN has a similar arrangement with Vaughan in Austin, Texas. Vaughan owns CW affiliate KNVA there, but has ceded operational control to LIN’s KBVO, the NBC affiliate.

According to the FCC filing, LIN is paying $2.3 million for WIWB and Vaughan/LIN is paying $9.2 million for WBDT.

In May, LIN announced that it had contracted to operate WIWB and WBDT. That deal included options for LIN to buy the stations. In August, Acme announced that LIN had decided to execute the buy options and had transferred its right to buy WIWB to Vaughan.

In its FCC filing, LIN said its deal for WIWB met all the criteria for the failed station waiver.

WIWB has an all-day audience share of less than 4%.

WIWB has had a negative cash flow for the last three consecutive years.

Selling to a broadcaster outside of the market could only have been done at an artificially depressed price.

LIN also said that its ownership of the station would result in better programming.

The persistent poor financial condition of WIWB has hampered the ability to create and regularly air locally produced informational programming.

“Under its ownership, LIN intends to devote the local manpower and physical resources for WIWB to provide a substantial amount of locally produced and community-focused service in order to become a local voice in the Green Bay-Appleton market.”

In particular, LIN promised to broadcast a weekly public affairs program, a quarterly town hall meeting, hourly weather reports and news, emergency news and weather, as well as local events and high schools sports.

The application also noted that Acme has asked the FCC for permission to change the WIWB’s call letters to WCWF to reflect is CW affiliation.


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Comments (3)

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matt fess says:

September 21, 2010 at 4:53 pm

This is a classic case as to why there should be small market duopolies allowed. Trying to survive today as a stand alone in a market the size of Green Bay is almost impossible and this now allows for better local programming to be developed. Good for LIN.

    Linda Stewart says:

    September 21, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Agreed. The rule is an anachronism.

Neal Hecker says:

April 28, 2011 at 5:19 pm

It was artificial market conditions that have caused the FCC and the world to believe that WIWB and or ACME failed in Green Bay. It was Journal Broadcasting and Young Broadcasting that were failing. they were tearing down the market. WGBA (Journal) had an unofficial duopoly with the UPN WACY. journal made a poor decision in trying to give Green Bay the same newscast as Milwaukee. The lost market share and they gave away WACY’s spots for free to prop up advertising on WGBA. Duopolies sound nice but they eliminate the competition by undercutting pricing.

Young Broadcasting’s WBAY bankruptcy which caused WBAY to cut rates as Young scrapped every dollar they could trying to save themselves. They were taking money top prop up San Francisco and other failing markets. the only reason WFRV did not worry about this is they were owned by Liberty Media and had plenty of cash from their corporate ties. Liberty decided to unload them also to Nexstar.

With everyone going after the low hanging fruit, due to their own failures they tore down any hope the management at WIWB had. If WACY actually charged for spots Journal would have failed. If Young would not have over paid for San Francisco, they would not have had issues. So it was not that WIWB failed, it was that the market failed due to other stations bad management.

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