Sunday, August 13, 2006

FCC petition could have effect on Nexstar/Mission stations

Equity Broadcasting officials have filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission claiming that Nexstar and Mission's duopoly arrangement at northwest Arkansas stations KFTA and KNWA violates FCC rules.
The arrangement in question is virtually identical to the arrangements Nexstar and Mission have with KSNF and KODE in Joplin, and KSFX and KOLR in Springfield.
The petition was filed shortly after the April 18 announcement that Nexstar was selling KFTA in Fort Smith to Mission for $5.6 million.
According to Mission's quarterly report, filed Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, "Upon closing the purchase of KFTA, Mission plans to enter into joint sales and shared services agreements with NexstarÂ’s KNWA whereby KNWA will provide local news, sales and other non-programming services to KFTA."
The petition protestingthis arrangementt was filed May 22, and alleges the same thing that has been alleged in many corners, including this blog- that Nexstar controls Mission, and Mission exists only to allow Nexstar to skirt FCC regulations.
"On June 6, 2006, Nexstar and Mission submitted a joint opposition. The FCC is currently in the process of considering the KFTA assignment application. Although management believes that the petition has no merit, it is not possible to predict what action the FCC will take on the petition to deny, or when it will take such action."
It's not as if the arrangement is limited to just the stations mentioned so far in this post. The quarterly report comes right out and says it:

"Mission has entered into local service agreements with Nexstar to provide sales and operating services to all of MissionÂ’s stations. Under the terms of a shared services agreement (SSA) the Nexstar station in the market provides certain services including news production, technical maintenance and security, in exchange for monthly payments from Mission to Nexstar."

Nexstar and Mission claim they are in compliance with FCC regulations, saying, "In order for both Nexstar and Mission to comply with FCC regulations, Mission maintains complete responsibility for and control over programming, finances, personnel and operations of its stations."

Among other items mentioned in the report:
-Mission, like Nexstar, missed the deadline for compliance with digital transmission regulations, for all but three stations. It has asked for extensions for the other stations, including KODE and KOLR and is awaiting a response from the FCC.
-Net revenue for the first six months increased by $1 million.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Didn't a cable company in Springfield also file a similar complaint with the FCC? There seem to be many two station arrangements around the country. Springfield has more than one, Joplin has more than one and it seems relatively common. Why is Nexstar so threatened? Maybe because they should be. They have a reputation of turning a blind eye to being legal.