DMA 14

Fox Buying Station In Seattle

It’s paying Venture Technologies Group $10 million for KBCB Bellingham, which now airs ShopHQ and Estrella programming. The move follows last month’s notice that it is ending the Fox affiliation of Tribune’s KCPQ.

Fox, after telling Tribune last month that it was taking away the network affiliation from Tribune’s KCPQ Seattle, has moved to fill the gap by buying its own station in the market.

Venture Technologies Group, owner of KBCB Bellingham, Wash., is selling the station in suburban Seattle to Fox Television Stations for $10 million, according to an application filed at the FCC. KBCB now carries ShopHQ and Estrella TV programming.

As part of its effort to get the most from its NFL TV rights contract, Fox notified Tribune about two weeks ago that it would be terminating its affiliation with Tribune’s KCPQ and, according to sources, offered to swap its MNT affiliate in Chicago, WPWR, for KCPQ. At the time, Tribune confirmed that it had received the termination notice, but said that it had no deal with Fox for a swap or anything else.

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Fox Television Stations President Jack Abernethy has long made clear the company’s desire to own stations in top markets with NFC teams to take full advantage of the Fox network’s rights to broadcast the NFC games every Sunday.

Over the past two years, Fox has added two NFC markets to its lineup. In one case, the network dropped an existing affiliate to pave the way for the acquisition.

Comments (31)

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Patrick Burns says:

October 7, 2014 at 9:47 am

Congrats to Larry Rogow & the crew at VTC.

Some very smart TV folks here. You can learn from them for sure !!!

Got a island off of M Vineyard that I’ll sell you !!! LOL

none none says:

October 7, 2014 at 10:12 am


Teri Keene says:

October 7, 2014 at 10:17 am

Surprised they didn’t go after the stronger KVOS instead – they have a viable audience on both the American and Canadian side of the border.

Roger Lyons says:

October 7, 2014 at 10:33 am

I see Fox hasn’t learned from their WJZY experiment. Actually, I doubt the network will land on KBCB; just a chip to use to get an even bigger prize, then they can resell the rimshot station to a speculator.

    Trudy Handel says:

    October 7, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Or they can put MundoFOX on it and get the network carried on satellite.

Bob Smith says:

October 7, 2014 at 11:15 am

calling Bellingham “suburban Seattle” is laughable…Bellingham is 1hr 30 min away (88.7 mi) from Seattle via I-5 N…IF they plan on transmitting from that market, many OTA viewers in the real Seattle-Tacoma area will probably have problems watching Fox

    Scott Cote says:

    October 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    I see foxchick is not a Transmission Engineer 🙂

    Bob Smith says:

    October 7, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    roger that – and I call upon your engineering know-how…so do they/will they have a tower powerful enough from that area (I hear they purchased one up there) to reach viewers in the 50-mi radius of Seattle-Tacoma?

    Bob Smith says:

    October 7, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    I realize they will have cable & satellite coverage, but there is a significant portion of viewers who have dropped both in favor of free OTA viewing

Diane Tryneski says:

October 7, 2014 at 11:22 am

Seattle has one of the highest cable penetration rates in the country. Combine that with satellite, and you’re covering close to 95% of the market. The station is already carried on cable systems in Seattle, so do you need to pay extra for a stick in Seattle to get the last few?

    pat archambault says:

    October 7, 2014 at 11:24 am

    I was just going to ask this question. If the station is carried by cable, DirecTV and DISH, I guess it doesn’t matter…

kendra campbell says:

October 7, 2014 at 11:33 am

One dumb move. The WJZY, Charlotte purchase has laid a big fat egg. Virtually no local news viewers. It will be even worse for KBCB.

Brad Dann says:

October 7, 2014 at 11:42 am

If FOX puts their affiliation on KBCB, it will be like CBS that was convinced they could make WWJ-TV (Ch 62) work in Detroit and it’s the worst O&O in America

E B says:

October 7, 2014 at 11:44 am

In a competitive news race, writing off 5 percent of the market is a considerable millstone.

    pat archambault says:

    October 7, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Of that 5%, what percent would watch the station’s newscasts if they could?

pat archambault says:

October 7, 2014 at 11:52 am

Could KBCB be paired up with a digital LPTV that covers metro Seattle???

Patrick Burns says:

October 7, 2014 at 11:57 am

now that idea is probably already going down, the added canadian carriage & viewership is monetizeable plus the sub channels can be used for Mundo Fox & ??

Victoria can add serious billing I would bet !!!

Mark Sherman & Jennifer Loven says:

October 7, 2014 at 12:29 pm

That can’t be the only move FOX is making in Seattle. To start a station with virtually no audience and no on air signal in Seattle would be ridiculous. There has to be a part two to be announced. FOX has no loyalty to their affiliates and they deserve to fail.

    pat archambault says:

    October 7, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Could the signal be moved much closer to Seattle and still cover its COL of Bellingham??

Linda Leavell says:

October 7, 2014 at 12:58 pm

I am very disappointed you Tribune Media. You swap with WPWR in Chicago instead of swap with FOX/MNT in Orlando and FOX in Gainsville, Fl with wrong hands. KCPQ will end up Fox stations and become Independent station again next year. disappointed Tribune Media.

    Keith ONeal says:

    October 7, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Hate to tell you this, but the Fox stations in Orlando and Ocala (not Gainesville) were owned by Meredith, before Fox made a swap deal with Meredith to obtain these stations. Tribune has never owned any TV or Radio stations in Orlando or Ocala, but they DO own The Orlando Sentinel newspaper.

    John Bagwell says:

    October 8, 2014 at 8:27 am

    No, Tribune Publishing owns the Orlando Sentinal, not Tribune Media. They are 2 separate companies.

    Wagner Pereira says:

    October 9, 2014 at 5:40 am

    Flashflood tries to tell us everything Orlando, but he fails in his facts about 1 simple market.

Dennis Bragg says:

October 7, 2014 at 4:02 pm

KBCB might just be a satellite station that FOX is going to use at the north end of the Seattle Market while it is negotiating with another party that it is trying to purchase a station in the core of Seattle. If they are not going after KCPQ any longer they could be going after another station like KFFV or even KIRO. I don’t think that at this point they are going to want to spend a ton on a new station so KFFV might be a logical choice in the Seattle metro area. Although it would have made more sense to go after KIRO since they already have a news presence in Seattle instead of trying to establish a new news presence in an already crowded news market.

    Keith ONeal says:

    October 7, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    What about KONG?

Roger Lyons says:

October 7, 2014 at 8:16 pm

VenTech is an odd duck as a broadcaster. Build stations on the cheap, put shopping on there or LMA the signal out to someone else then sell 10-20 years later. Of course, they have had their failures (WNYA in Albany losing money for years then sold to Hubbard).

Blair Faulstich says:

October 7, 2014 at 10:42 pm

The VTG boys are bright and know how to gauge the market..kudos to them once again.

T.L. Hughes says:

October 8, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Interesting stuff to a lowly consumer. From a faraway land. Well, I THINK I’m closer to Bellingham than Seattle is up here in Canada.

Now, is there an easy cheesey process where the cable carrier in British Columbia will be on-board and in the loop when the transfer takes place?

Going on past experience, Shaw Cable will figure things out after a few weeks of NFL Football are missed. Maybe I’ll call NOW and see if they will bump WCPQ for the new affiliate or carry both (depending on what KCPQ starts carrying, might not matter.

Best case is Sinclair to KCPQ so we get that professional rassling back in these here parts.

I’m no entrepreneur but I’d say the vendors did well, whether by dumb luck or savvy intuition there would be a juicy offer at some point.

    Wagner Pereira says:

    October 9, 2014 at 5:44 am

    The real interest is what Bell/Shaw Satellite do. They use KCPQ to distribute Fox West Nationwide in Canada. And the check KCPQ receives from the Canadian Copyright Board is NOT an insignificant amount. One wonders what facilities both have to receive this “out of market” signal.

Patrick Burns says:

October 9, 2014 at 9:14 am

The CRTC rule is called the 4 plus one \\All the major US aff get on Canadian cable plus a PBS If you want to carry a signal outside of that , the cable system must petition the CRTC & you end up in a pay section of the US stations like WSBK, WSEE, etc.Intent here by CRTC is too not be washed over by the US signals.Keep some balance.

It can be done see CRTC vs WWBI TV 27 Plattsburgh.Amazingly this facility was a LPTV.

Either way Fox has this all layed out before a piece of ink hit the purchase agreement.

Jenny Renfrow says:

October 12, 2014 at 5:36 pm

This definitely smells like another channel swap like the KIRO/KSTW one that happened twenty years ago that didn’t go very well. If Fox kept their television studio they had in Bellevue for Fox Sports, this could have had a better outcome for them. They are going to have to take over KIRO or KCPQ to not have to start all over again in an expensive real estate market regardless of the NFL revenue.

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