DMA 100

KFSM Seeking Duopoly In Fort Smith, Ark.

Local TV's CBS affiliate is asking the FCC for a "failing station" waiver that would allow it to buy RTN affilate KPBI for $800,000.

Local TV’s KFSM Fort Smith, Ark. (DMA 100), is asking the FCC for a waiver of its duopoly restrictions so that it can purchase a second station in the market, KPBI, from Riverside Media for $784,000.

FCC rules prohibit common ownership of two stations in a market as small as Fort Smith, but Local TV says that the deal meets the FCC criteria for a “failing station” waiver. KPBI, once part of the bankrupt Equity Media group, continues to lose money as a Retro Television Network affiliate, according to an FCC filing seeking approval of the deal.

Riverside acquired the station in November 2009, but has not had much luck with it, the filing said. The station suffered net losses of more than $100,000 in the final four and a half months of 2010, and more than $150,000 in the first seven months of 2011.

KFSM is a CBS affiliate. The filing also said its ownership of KPBI would yield “tangible and verifiable” public benefit.

“[I]t would “result in important technical and service enhancements to KPBI’s service to Eureka Springs  [its community of license] and to the Fort Smith market that more than outweigh any theoretical harm to competition and diversity,” it said.

“Most importantly, Local TV would spend significant sums to upgrade KPBI(TV) to broadcast a reliable, full-power, and high-definition digital signal.”


Gregory Fess is the managing partner Riverside Media.

Local TV LLC owns 19 stations in 18 markets, including WJW Cleveland and KDVR Denver.

Comments (5)

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michelle maranges says:

September 2, 2011 at 12:42 pm

They buy this station then they can poach network affiliations from other people and put this retro tv dealio on a side channel

Trudy Handel says:

September 2, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Don’t forget that KFTA, the FOX affiliate, is owned by Nexstar. I think it’s obvious where FOX would be landing in the market with KPBI owned by KFSM.

    Mike Henry says:

    September 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Don’t forget too that KFTA didn’t affiliate with Fox until 2006 (assuming that the initial and current agreements with Nexstar/Mission for KFTA are four-year agreements, KFTA’s Fox affiliation agreement may not have expired yet), also MyNetworkTV airs on KFSM 5.2. My best guess is that KFSM dumps RTV (making it another nail in RTV’s eventual coffin) and moves MNTV to KPBI (which was the area’s affiliate until 2009), and either replaces MNTV on 5.2 with Antenna TV (Fort Smith is the only market where Local TV owns a station that doesn’t carry Antenna TV) or has it become a simulcast of KPBI.

    Trudy Handel says:

    September 2, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Of course, not right away, but I mean when the contract is up, it could very easily land on KPBI.

    Mike Henry says:

    September 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    But that is, on the outside chance, that Fox and Nexstar/Mission can hammer out agreements to renew the affiliations with Nexstar/Mission’s remaining Fox affiliates. Even though Nexstar lost Fox affiliations with four stations because of Fox’s retrans sharing demands, the affiliation renewal talks haven’t totally collapsed. So while it is possible Fox could land on KPBI (which would make it the second station in the market with those calls to affiliate with the network, as low-powered KPBI-CA used to be the area’s Fox affiliate), we won’t know until after the sale is approved and what the developments are with Nexstar/Mission and Fox what will happen to the station. All I know is that RTV is going to lose another station, given they haven’t got many content providers left and they can’t find replacement stations in the markets they lost a station, I see RTV ending up like NBC Weather Plus in five years.