Friday, February 24, 2017

Meredith Broadcast Acquires WPCH-TV From Time-Warner

Meredith is buying independent WPCH from Time Warner for $70 million, according to a filing with the FCC.

According to TV NewsCheck, Meredith has been operating the station through joint sales and shared services agreements since 2011. It said in a press release that it expects to win FCC approval of the deal and close it by June 30.

Time Warner is in the process of merging with AT&T and WPCH is its only station. Disposing of the station might help Time Warner to side-step FCC review of the merger, which the parties have been pushing for in Washington.

Meredith owns WGCL Atlanta so purchasing WPCH would give it two stations in the market. But in their filing the parties say the proposed duopoly would be permissible under the FCC local ownership limits because 12 independently owned stations will remain in the market after the close (at least eight are required) and WPCH is not among the markets top-four rated stations.

WPCH has an important place in TV history. After purchasing the UHF station (then WTCG) in 1970, Ted Turner took advantage of changes in FCC rules to relaunched the station as a "superstation," distributing it out of market to cable systems via satellite across the country. It became the foundation of Turner's media empire.

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