Sale of 3 Alaska TV stations approved by FCC
The Federal Communications Commission has approved the sale of three Alaska television stations to cable provider General Communication Inc., the state's largest telecommunications system.
The transfer of the licenses was challenged by Alaska broadcasters including KTUU, KTBY and KYUR who argued that ownership by the company that dominates Alaska's cable and Internet market would create an anti-competitive situation, the Anchorage Daily News (http://is.gd/PKoRTg ) reported.
The stations argued that GCI would be in a position to deny a competitor access to its cable system or to dictate onerous conditions for carrying the competitor's programming.
In its decision this week, the FCC dismissed objections, calling them speculative. The commission said that granting the application would serve the "public interest, convenience, and necessity."
The sale applies to Anchorage CBS affiliate KTVA-TV, as well as Southeast Alaska NBC affiliates KATH-TV in Juneau and KSCT-TV in Sitka.
The transfer also was delayed by the federal government's recent partial shutdown, when the FCC suspended nonemergency business.
"We've been waiting for approval every week," GCI spokesman David Morris said.
Morris said financial aspects of the transaction still need to be finalized, a process he expects to take place over the next few days. GCI will then formally take ownership.
No determination has been made for when the new owner will broadcast local programming or its first newscast, according to Morris.
Denali Media Anchorage, a GCI subsidiary, will operate KTVA. Denali Media Southeast will operate KATH and KSCT.