Journal Broadcast Group is seeking a “failed station” waiver at the FCC to get approval of the deal to buy the Ace TV-owned MNT affiliate that Journal has been operating under an LMA for 18 years with its NBC affil WGBA.
Journal Broadcast Group wants full control of the other half of its virtual NBC-MNT duopoly in Green Bay-Appleton, Wis. (DMA 69).
Journal, which owns NBC affiliate WGBA, has agreed to buy MNT affiliate WACY, which it has been operating under a local marketing agreement for the past 18 years.
The purchase price is $2,037,500, according to an FCC filing seeking approval of the deal. The seller is Ace TV, which is solely owned by Shirley A. Martin.
Because FCC rules prohibit ownership of more than one station in markets like Green Bay-Appleton with fewer than eight independently owned stations, Journal has asked the FCC for a “failed station” waiver of the rules.
Prior to its entering into the LMA with WGBA in 1994, the Journal argues in the FCC filing, WACY went through bankruptcy and was dark for two years.
It wasn’t until WGBA took over the operation that WACY began providing service again.
“The relationship between WGBA-TV and WACY-TV has permitted both stations to benefit from certain combined back-office functions. In turn, WACY-TV, which is not affiliated with any of the [Big Four] networks, has been able to broadcast significant amounts of locally produced, locally-focused programming that would otherwise not have been possible.
“Grant of the instant application would further solidify the relationship between the two stations and permit both of them to take advantage of the benefits of joint ownership and continue the public interest programming they are able to produce and broadcast as a result of the combined efficiencies.”