Hawaii News Now, a three-station news operation, has unique coverage requirements due to the state’s history and natural beauty which draws tourists. But it shares the conundrums all local TV stations are facing.
The FCC has granted the license renewals of Raycom’s KHNL and KGMB, both Honolulu, and HITV’s KFVE Honolulu, denying a license challenge by Media Council Hawai’i and putting a final nail in the group’s long-standing complaint that Raycom and KITV had run afoul of local ownership rules.
The station group is buying MNT affiliate KFVE for $6.5 million so that it can pair it with KHON, an affiliate of Fox and the CW, according to CEO Perry Sook. Raycom has been operating KFVE under a shared services agreement.
The FCC’s Media Bureau has sided with DirecTV after Hawaiian MyNetworkTV affiliate KFVE complained that the satellite operator didn’t negotiate with it in good faith. MCG Capital and Raycom Media jointly own HITV, which operates KFVE. The station has been off AT&T-owned DirecTV since Oct. 19, 2017, amid stalled retrans talks. DirecTV has argued that there is little demand for the station, and it has refused to pay fees to carry KFVE.
HITV, owner of Hawaii MyNetworkTV affiliate KFVE, filed a complaint with the FCC alleging that DirecTV violated the agency’s rules requiring it to negotiate in good faith.
The Hawaiian independent station was dropped from the satellite service Thursday following four extensions over the last seven weeks of its carriage deal.
In 2011, Honolulu’s digital news leader StarAdvertiser.com, the online home of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, put up a paywall. The move turned out to be a boon for its main competitor, HawaiiNewsNow.com, operated by three TV stations, which saw its Web traffic jump and remain strong.
The Media Bureau says that the 2009 deal that resulted in Raycom running three stations in Honolulu, including the NBC and CBS affiliates, did not violate the law or commission precedent as a local opposition group had contended. However, the bureau is concerned about such arrangements and said it would look into them in the context of its ongoing review of the broadcast ownership rules. It also fined MCG Capital, Raycom’s partner in the deal, $10,000 for violating public file rules.
The LMA/option between Raycom and a subsidiary of MCG Capital that has created a three-TV station cluster in Honolulu is under formal assault by Media Council Hawaii. Rules of engagement just released by the FCC show that many of the pertinent facts will be kept under wraps.