Gray puts blinders on Fox O&O in Harrisonburg
Fox Television’s WTTG-TV Washington is a big fish, but it will have to swim with most of its fins tied behind its back in the small pond that belongs to Gray Television’s WHSV-TV in Harrisonburg VA, which successfully enlisted the FCC to enforce its exclusivity rights.
Washington is Nielsen DMA #8; Harrisonburg is #178.
Gray contended that WTTG is no longer significantly viewed in the main DMA community of Harrisonburg, and also in Staunton VA. Those two communities belong to the defined DMA of WHSV, but strangely enough, it is Gray that needs a waiver of the network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity rules.
That’s because WTTG was deemed to be significantly viewed in the two communities way back in 1972.
The waiver Gray requests is the right to enforce its exclusivity despite WTTG’s existing significantly viewed status. To do that, it had to prove that the station no longer is actually viewed there.
To get the proof, it enlisted the services of Nielsen, which found no measureable viewership of WTTG whatsoever in either location.
The FCC agreed that Gray had made its case and granted the waiver, forcing any duplicative programming on WTTG to be blacked out in Harrisonburg and Staunton.
For the record, WTTG/Fox did not contest Gray’s action.