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FCC Approves KTKA Sale, Stoking Fears of Virtual Triopoly in Topeka

The FCC approved the sale of KTKA in Topeka to PBC Broadcasting yesterday, saying the sale of the ABC-affiliated station was in the public’s best interest despite protests from the American Cable Association.

The ACA is fearful that the sale will lead to a virtual triopoly in the Topeka market. PBC Broadcasting has existing shared services agreements with New Vision Television in two other markets, and New Vision owns two stations in Topeka, leading cable operators to believe a similar deal will be struck after the KTKA sale. PBC Broadcasting has not commented on any plans for shared services agreements in the Topeka market. Such an agreement would drive up retransmission fees for cable operators.

The ACA has been heavily lobbying the FCC to deny or condition the sale, calling on Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, among others, to help convince the FCC of their petition. The FCC yesterday denied the ACA petition and approved the sale, saying PBC Broadcasting is fully qualified to own KTKA.

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