Fines, Spinoffs Accompany FCC's Citadel-ABC Deal Approval
April 4, 2007 at 12:05 PM (PT)
The FCC's official ruling approving the CITADEL-ABC RADIO merger comes with fines and conditions, as CITADEL gets hit with a proposed $10,000 fine for public file violations at its WPRO-A, WPRO-F, and WSKO-A/PROVIDENCE; WSKO-F/WAKEFIELD-PEACEDALE-PROVIDENCE; and WQGN and WSUB-A/GROTON-NEW LONDON, CT and an additional $10,00 fine for public file violations at WWWZ/SUMMERVILLE, SC and $1,000 for public file violations at WLXC/LEXINGTON, SC.
The deal also requires CITADEL to spin eleven stations -- WWLS-F and KINB/OKLAHOMA CITY; KBZU/ALBUQUERQUE; KVLO, KPZK, and KARN-F/LITTLE ROCK; WMGL/CHARLESTON, SC; WCLZ and WCYI/PORTLAND, ME; WYLZ/SAGINAW-BAY CITY; and KNEK/LAFAYETTE, LA -- to a trust, the LAST BASTION RADIO TRUST, in which CITADEL does not hold a cognizable interest.
In approving the transfer, the FCC ruled that RED WOLF BROADCASTING's challenge to the deal based on misrepresentation (RED WOLF claimed that CITADEL arranged listener letters challenging RED WOLF's application for a translator) "failed to raise a substantial and material question of fact calling into question CITADEL BROADCASTING’s character or its basic qualifications as a licensee as to require an evidentiary hearing." The Commission also rejected RED WOLF's allegations of payola arising from the NEW YORK Attorney General's investigation, noting that CITADEL was a signatory to a Consent Decree in the matter.
And RED WOLF's allegations of tower marking and lighting violations were rejected as well, with the FCC pointing out that CITADEL had been in contact with the Commission while doing work on the WQGN-WSUB site and had acted appropriately, while tower lighting outages at WXLM/STONINGTON, CT had been appropriately addressed by CITADEL. A petition from a group of BINGHAMTON, NY residents on the basis of "distant" company CITADEL not serving local interests was similarly denied.