Opposition to Hawaii SSA set to meet


Media Council Hawaii, which filed with the FCC to challenge the shared services agreement in Honolulu between Raycom Media and MCG Capital, is holding a meeting 12/2/09. It is encouraging the public to attend for the purpose of organizing to bring an end to the agreement between the stations.

The shared services agreement (SSA) brings together Raycom’s NBC KHNL-TV and MyNetworkTV KFVE-TV with MCG’s CBS KGMB-TV. Raycom is in the operational driver’s seat with the exception of certain licensee responsibilities that MCG retains for its station. The programming and calls for the MNT and CBS stations have also been swapped from one facility to the other, putting the two major nets under Raycom’s control.

Inviting the public, MCH wrote, “In Hawai’i, Raycom Media of Alabama has taken control of 3 television stations, in violation of FCC policy and Anti-Trust Law. This action reduces localism, diversity and competition. Join us; learn what you can do to help reverse the trend.”

RBR-TVBR observation: The FCC just hit Clear Channel with an unauthorized transfer of control fine of $8K that was related to edging a bit over the line in an LMA situation in Ft. Pierce FL. The FCC ruling seemed to uphold the major components of the LMA, however, which should be good news for Raycom and MCG. At the very least, it remains to be seen if the Raycom/MCG arrangement “violates FCC policy.”

The problem, if there is going to be one, will probably come down the road, if the LMA/SSA concept comes up for major scrutiny during the Quadrennial Review.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has said that the FCC is aware of the financial problems facing the broadcasting industry at the moment. And many stations, particularly on the television side, are using SSAs to stay afloat. We hope Genachowski and the FCC will take a calm and measured approach to the study of this situation, and avoid simply striking SSAs down in a fit of anti-consolidation fever.