FCC Rejects 3 Daughters Media Challenge To WLNI Deal
August 22, 2013 at 12:50 PM (PT)
The FCC has denied GARY BURNS' 3 DAUGHTERS MEDIA's Petition to Deny filed against the sale of Talk WLNI/LYNCHBURG, VA by CENTENNIAL LICENSING, LLC to MEL WHEELER, INC. for $1,025,000.
3 DAUGHTERS alleged that the deal would give WHEELER control of 10 stations in the market, 6 full-power FMs, two AMs, and two FM translators, based on its counting a station, WVBB/ELLISTON-LAFAYETTE, VA, in the market, which BIA's analysis, used by the parties to the deal to determine ownership cap compliance, did not, and that BIA added three additional stations it said did not belong as home to the metro, which would change the numerical caps. CENTENNIAL and MEL WHEELER contended that 3 DAUGHTERS lacked standing to object to the sale, but the Commission ruled that 3 DAUGHTERS was a party in interest as a competitor in the market; however, the Commission also ruled that the deal complies with the commission's numerical limits and declined to analyze the deal under an analysis of revenue share.
The FCC agreed with 3 DAUGHTERS that one of the additional three stations counted by BIA in the market should be excluded, but disagreed on the other two.
BURNS told ALL ACCESS, "I am naturally disappointed in the ruling today regarding CENTENNIAL/WHEELER. I continue to maintain at the time of the filing that there were less than the required number of stations on the air in ROANOKE/LYNCHBURG. I was happy to see the Commission remove WOWZ from the count, I think they stretched their decision to go beyond AUGUST 1, 2013 so that WWZW qualified but in fact it did not at the time of the filing.
"I think there was a lack of candor in certain representations of another broadcaster as to weather or not the station was in fact on the air at the time of the filing, and I think they booted the call on WVBB which is clearly the 6th FM for WHEELER and is already adding significant audience to WVBE due to the ARBITRON Total Line Reporting Policy.
"I have not decided weather or not I will appeal this decision. I do think the decision shines a glaring light on the Commissions policy to outsource to Arbitron and BIA definitions of radio markets and I hope that the Commissioners will give consideration to my request to return market definitions to SMSA's as defined by the Census Bureau."