FCC Says Yes To Cordillera’s Ownership Exit Deals


The FCC on Thursday gave its consent to Cordillera Communications’ plan to exit the broadcast television industry, some 33 years after entering it.

As such, closing will come soon for the sale of 15 of its 16 stations to The E.W. Scripps Co., and of the sale of KVOA-4 in Tucson to another operator.

Via a letter sent to Cordillera’s legal counsel, Michael Basile of Cooley LLP; Scripps counsel Kenneth Howard of Baker & Hostetler; and Quincy Media counsel Elizabeth Spainhour of Raleigh-based Brooks Pierce; the Commission granted the transfer applications that will give Scripps the following stations:

  • WLEX-18, the NBC affiliate in Lexington, Ky. Cordillera-affiliated Evening Post Publishing (its parent company) acquired WLEX in 1999.
  • KOAA-5, the NBC affiliate serving Colorado Springs licensed to Pueblo, Co. It has unofficially been connected to Cordillera since 1977, when operations for the Evening Post Publishing Co. were based in Charleston, S.C. Cordillera obtained the station’s license following its 1986 creation.
  • KATC-3, the ABC affiliate in Lafayette, La., acquired in 1995
  • KSBY-6, the NBC affiliate in Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo, Calif., that in August 2018 ignited talk that Cordillera was seeking a buyer for the Central Coast station and perhaps other properties. Cordillera has been the owner of KSBY since 2004.
  • KRIS-6, the NBC affiliate, and K47DF-D, a low-power Telemundo affiliate, in Corpus Christi, Tex. Cordillera bought KRIS in 1998.
  • KPAX-8 and simulcast partner KAJJ-CD 18, CBS affiliates in Missoula and Kalispell, Mont. It has been a part of Cordillera since 1986.
  • KTVQ-2, a CBS affiliate in Billings, Mont., acquired in 1994 by Cordillera.
  • KXLF-4 and semi-satellite KBZK-7, the CBS affiliates in Butte and Bozeman, Mont. These stations were acquired in 1986 in the same deal involving KPAX-8.
  • KRTV-3, the CBS affiliate, and KTGF-LD 50, the NBC affiliate, in Great Falls, Mont. KRTV also obtained by Cordillera in the 1986 deal involving other Montana properties. KTGF was added in 2015.
  • KTVH-12, the NBC affiliate, and KXLH-LD 3, the CBS affiliate, in Helena, Mont.

Scripps paid $521 million for the stations and is now seeking a way to pay for them.

As RBR+TVBR reported March 26, Scripps in an 8-K filing with the SEC says it intends to meet with and make presentations to prospective lenders in connection with a proposed senior credit facility financing. The proceeds of this financing “are expected to be used” to pay for the pending acquisition of the 15 Cordillera stations, which is expected to close in Q2 2019, Scripps SVP/Controller and Treasurer Douglas Lyons stated in the filing.

Affixed to the filing is a prospector lender meeting slide show. Wells Fargo Securities is the intended lender.

The FCC also gave Scripps the continued authority to operate KBZK-TV in Bozeman, Mont., as a satellite of KXLF-TV in Butte, Mont.

Meanwhile, Quincy is adding KVOA-4 in Tucson — a station Cordillera obtained in 1993 from H&C Communications, owner of the Houston Post newspaper until 1983. This station is going to Scripps as it already owns KGUN-9 and the CW affiliate in Tucson, KWBA-58.

KVOA marks a unique expansion for Quincy, which primarily owns broadcast TV stations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana and its home state of Illinois. Outside of the Midwest, Quincy has two TV stations: longtime CBS affiliate WBNG-12 in Binghamton, N.Y., obtained in fall 2015 from Granite Broadcasting; and WVVA-6 in Bluefield, W. Va., owned by Quincy since May 1979. Quincy also owns the New Jersey Herald of Newton, N.J., and Herald-Whig newspaper of Quincy, Ill.