WRNN New York Cops $212M In FCC Auction

The independent on ch. 48 is owned by the French family. At $212 million, it could be the biggest payout of the FCC's incentive auction.

WRNN, the quirky New York City independent, was sold for $212 million in the FCC’s reverse auction, topping every other station in the market and possibly the country, according to broadcast industry sources.

The station, which operates on ch. 48, is owned by the French family, which is headed by CEO Dick French and does business as RNN. According to the RNN website, the family bought the station in 1993.

WRNN airs mostly paid programming, but at 6 p.m. each weekday, it broadcasts a public affairs show hosted by Richard French, son of the CEO. That show, Richard French Live, is followed by a half-hour newscast, Newsline, produced by NHK, the Japanese public broadcaster.

Neither father nor son responded to requests for comment.

Under contract from Verizon, RNN also produces FiOS1 News, regional newscasts for FiOS cable systems in the New York area.

In the reverse auction, the FCC pledged to pay broadcasters $10 billion for their channels so that it could sell the spectrum to wireless carriers in a conventional reverse account.


Broadcasters who sold spectrum in the auction are free to say what stations they sold and for how much, but so far only a handful have done so.

Of the $10 billion pledged, only $1.2 billion is so far accounted for.

The FCC is expected to reveal all the stations that were sold in the auction and how much they are getting in March.

Comments (11)

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Jim Church says:

February 14, 2017 at 9:22 am

Meanwhile all of those LPTV in NYC have to pay for their own displacement moves. THIS AUCTION SUCKS!

    Linda Stewart says:

    February 14, 2017 at 9:50 am

    I hear that a lot and not just from LPTV folk.

Teri Green says:

February 14, 2017 at 10:42 am

They shouldn’t get any money. The FCC should simply not renew licenses and then take over the spectrum. The airwaves should not be sold to anyone.

    Linda Stewart says:

    February 14, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    You would not be saying that if you had paid millions of dollars for a local broadcast TV franchise, which is pretty much was a TV license is.

alicia farmer says:

February 14, 2017 at 10:57 am

Station airs paid programming 95% of the time, and then rakes in $212 million for spectrum space. Insanity.

Patrick Burns says:

February 14, 2017 at 10:57 am

WRNN has been an aberration since the French folks took it over. They would ask for calls on the 6 pm call in show and many times would get none. This station had no presence in NYC with viewers at all. There choice of the primary and Diginet nets programs was always who will pay to rent by space !!

Their paid info clients just lost their sugar daddy. Gonna be curious where the money migrates to.
Either way the long saga of WTZA / WRNN comes to a strange and greed driven end . IMHO.

    Wagner Pereira says:

    February 14, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    While I also think WRNN was a waste of Spectrum, a station with 95% paid programming that does not produce results for those programs ends up with no paying customers. As thus, they clearly worked for their clients.

kendra campbell says:

February 14, 2017 at 2:29 pm

Why has WRNN kept its broadcast license all these years? When did the “public interest, convenience, and necessity” clause within the Communications Act get repealed? Why is the FCC paying this ridiculous station $212 million for spectrum space it pollutes every day? What a joke!

    Wagner Pereira says:

    February 14, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    What other stations in the USA do a Public Affairs show daily at 6PM?

Patrick Burns says:

February 14, 2017 at 4:36 pm

Is it public affairs when no one calls or knows the station exists. You need an audience to create a dialogue , duh !!

    Wagner Pereira says:

    February 14, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    again, if no one knows the station existed, no one would buy the crap their programming peddles and thus the programming would disappear.