Get ready for a seismic shift in the Sioux Falls, S.D., television news landscape. Next week, KSFY News will be no more. KDLT News will be no more. Dakota News Now is set to go live Monday as two of the city’s largest network affiliates join forces under one brand (and owner — Gray Television), a model of TV news that will test new regulatory waters recently approved by the FCC.
Gray gets the go-ahead to buy the NBC affiliate and operate it with the ABC affiliate it already owns in the South Dakota market. The action, in essence, constitutes a waiver of the FCC’s local ownership rules barring ownership of two stations in small markets and of two top-rated stations (typically network affiliates) in all markets.
Gray Television’s deal to buy KDLT Sioux Fall, S.D., and create a precedent-setting affiliate duopoly in the market has been hung up at the FCC for 15 months without any explanation. For the sake of buyers and sellers, large and small, the FCC needs to act.
An internal email from the GM of Red River Broadcasting’s NBC affiliate in Sioux Falls, S.D., says the Justice Department has signed off on the $32 million sale to Gray Television first proposed in 2018.
The American Television Alliance tells the FCC that Gray Television shouldn’t be allowed to buy KDLT because it already owns KSFY in the South Dakota market and duopoly ownership of two top-four affiliates would give Gray too much retrans negotiating power.
Next time you’re about to complain about your job, think of what tower climber Kevin Schmidt does for a living at KDLT Sioux Falls-Mitchell, SD