Gray takes the low power road in Parkersburg-Marietta
There are no two ways about it — the Parkersburg WV DMA is small – so small that Gray Television is the only broadcast TV game in town. And it isn’t because it’s bought multiple stations – it owns one – the only one considered home to the DMA. Now it has a deal to add a pair of LPTVs.
Gray uses digital multicast to get the most out of its full power in town – WTAP brings NBC, Fox and MNT programming into the Ohio River market.
It will add WVEX-LP and WWVX-LP, likely with no regulatory hurdles whatsoever, since low power facilities do not count when calculating compliance with local media ownership caps.
The stations are both silent at the moment, and are located both upriver from Parkersburg, and on the other side of the river from Parkersburg, in Marietta OH.
The price for the duo will be $66K. Gray will make an advance payment of $13K and fork over the rest at closing.
Should the FCC have not gotten around to approving the deal by the beginning of June the buyer and seller will look at setting up an LMA pending approval and closure on the deal.
The wording in the contract strongly suggests that Gray is acquiring these stations with an eye toward operating them rather than as a speculation acquisition in advance of incentive auctions. The contract discusses taking the stations digital, and requires that Gray fund any such project with the cooperation of the seller, who will have to be the one to file any FCC paperwork until Gray is officially the licensee.