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FCC Gives Denali Media OK to Buy Alaska Stations Over Local Broadcasters Objections

GCI_logo_-_AgencyDenali Media has been given the go-ahead from the FCC to buy three Alaska TV stations despite opposition from four Alaskan station groups.

According to one of the stations involved, Denali, a subsidiary of Alaska’s cable giant General Communications, Inc., is expected to complete its purchase of Anchorage CBS affiliate KTVA, Sitka NBC affiliate KSCT and Juneau NBC affiliate KATH within days.

The Alaska Dispatch reports, Andy MacLeod, general manager for Anchorage NBC affiliate KTUU one of the stations fighting the sale, told employees in an email following the ruling, “We’re disappointed in the FCC ruling and we, along with the other Alaska broadcasters, will assess our legal options moving forward.”

A main concern for the media entities that wanted to block GCI/Denali was the concept of a dual monopoly. GCI has what some view as a near-monopoly on the distribution of news, information and entertainment through its statewide cable systems. Jumping in now as a producer of that programming in the form of Denali Media stands to make GCI even more dominant as a common owner of both a cable system and broadcast television stations. The fear of what that would look like if GCI was ruthlessly anticompetitive motivated many Alaska broadcasters to seek protection from the potential threat through regulatory restrictions.

Four station groups representing eight Alaska stations were seeking to block the sale.The station groups were Northern Lights Media (owners of KTUU), Vision Alaska, Ketchikan TV and Coastal Television Broadcasting.

In its ruling, the FCC said, “We find that the Applications do not propose a transaction that would violate any Commission’s rule or policy, and that the objections advanced by its proponents are more appropriate for industry-wide proceedings, are unsupported, or are otherwise speculative with regard to future harms.”

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