Friday, May 14, 2010

Time To Protest Tribune's FCC Waiver Requests


Tribune Broadcasting’s “Joint Plan of Reorganization for Tribune Company and its Subsidiaries” requires the transfer of all of its FCC licenses, and it exposes all relationships held by dint of a waiver to reconsideration.

The FCC put the proceeding, listed under MB Docket No. 10-104, under ex parte permit-but-disclose procedure at the request of Tribune counsel.

Petitions to deny are due 6/14/10.

Those submitting a petition or otherwise commenting on the proposed transaction become a party to the proceeding, and are encouraged to state their case fully the first time around – new issues are not permitted in responses.

To recap, there are three simple waiver-requiring cross-ownership situations include the pairings of WPIX-TV and Newsday in the New York City DMA, KTLA-TV and the Los Angeles Times in the Los Angeles DMA and WSFL-TV and the Sun Sentinel in the Miami DMA.

Chicago is a special situation: a three-entity market, and the iconic grouping of WGN-AM, WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune. The combination has already been granted a permanent waiver by the FCC.A flagship/satellite relationship exists between WTTV-TV Bloomington IN and its satellite, WTTK-TV Kokomo IN; a waiver is required to keep that situation in place.

Finally, two waivers are required in Hartford CT. For starters, there are two television stations, WTIC-TV and WTXX-TV, combined with The Hartford Courant, requiring a cross-ownership waiver. And Tribune bought WTXX under a failed station waiver, which it needs to have renewed.

“One-man-band” Television News-gathering Growing

The use of the “one-man-band” concept is on the rise by broadcast television station news departments.

A survey on the use of one-man-bands came from RTDNA and Hofstra University under Hoftstra professor Bob Papper.

31.7% of surveyed stations say they primarily send out one-man-bands, up from 22.3% three years ago.

Those using it some of the time are now at 29%, up from 26.9%.

21% said it gets occasional use, down from 22.3% and 18.3% do not use it at all, down from 28.6%.

The survey indicates that the trend is moving further in the direction of one-man-bands,
although the practice is more prevalent in small markets and small newsrooms.

Among stations with 51 or more employees, 8.5% make strong use of the practice.

Three years ago, 27.7% of stations said they expected to use the practice going forward, a number that increased to 43.1% this time around.

We can expect the practice to continue to spread throughout the industry.

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