3 Daughters Media Files To Deny Clear Channel, Aloha Trust/Roanoke-Lynchburg License Renewals
September 6, 2011 at 12:12 PM (PT)
GARY BURNS' 3 DAUGHTERS MEDIA, INC. has filed a petition to deny the license renewals of five CLEAR CHANNEL stations and two stations spun off to the ALOHA STATION TRUST, LLC for divestiture in ROANOKE-LYNCHBURG, VA. The petition, filed THURSDAY (9/1), notes that CLEAR CHANNEL has had since its 2008 "going private" transaction and trust spinoff to sell the stations and has not done so. The stations include CLEAR CHANNEL Rock WROV, Top 40/Rhythmic WJJS-WJJX (JAMMIN' JJS), Country WYYD, and AC WSNV (SUNNY FM), and ALOHA's Adult Hits WSFF-WSNZ (STEVE FM).
CLEAR CHANNEL, the petition notes, could only retain four of its seven FMs in the market, but rather than sell the stations right away, used its divestiture trust, with itself as the beneficiary, to remove the stations from its capped allotment, and set minimum sale prices for the stations while preventing them from changing format.
"In short," the filing states, "although the Trust Agreement placed limitations on CLEAR CHANNEL's ability to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the stations, the arrangement basically ensured, especially in a recessionary economy such as the present one, that the stations would remain in CLEAR CHANNEL's hands indefinitely.... more than three and one-half years later, AST has managed to 'sell' only one of the stations in the ROANOKE-LYNCHBURG market assigned to it by CLEAR CHANNEL. Rather than evidencing that the trust arrangement is having the desired effect of deconsolidating the radio industry, this “sale” by AST serves only to demonstrate that the trust arrangement sanctioned by the Commission has become nothing more than a charade." The filing notes that under the trust terms, WSNV was assigned back to CLEAR CHANNEL by the trust as soon as it was established (by an increase in stations assigned by ARBITRON to the market) that CLEAR CHANNEL could own it under the cap, with "the effect of doing nothing more than providing CLEAR CHANNEL with a vehicle to park the station until there was a nominal change in facts and circumstances that, in CLEAR CHANNEL’s view, permitted it to once again become the licensee of the station."
"It is time to call a halt to the charade," the filing concludes. "The licenses held by CLEAR CHANNEL and AST in the ROANOKE-LYNCHBURG market should not be renewed until the non-compliant stations have been assigned to third parties and WSNV(FM), which was reabsorbed by CLEAR CHANNEL on the basis of data that was simply incorrect in that it overstated the number of stations in the ROANOKE-LYNCHBURG market, is spun off to a third party."
Clear Channel Disagrees
CLEAR CHANNEL spokesperon told ALL ACCESS, "CLEAR CHANNEL's reacquisition of WSNV was in full compliance with FCC rules. It was unopposed at the FCC -- or by any other third party -- at the time. We closed the transaction, and the Commission’s decision is final and cannot be challenged. Unfortunately, THREE DAUGHTERS is attempting to use the renewal process to argue matters long since decided at the FCC."