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.
KFSM Seeking Duopoly In Fort Smith, Ark.
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.