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FCC Approves Sales of Marshall Stations to Mission Broadcasting

(Image credit: FCC)

WASHINGTON—The FCC has officially approved the sales of broadcast TV stations KLJB in Davenport, Iowa, KMSS-TV in Shreveport, La., and KPEJ-TV in Odessa, Texas, from Marshall Broadcasting Group to Mission Broadcasting. The FCC says that the sale, which came as a result of Marshall filing for bankruptcy, serves the public interest.

There were a trio of objections to that claim from Randall and Associates, Attorneys at Law; the National Newspaper Publishers Association; and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The objections are primarily based around the claims that Mission is acting as a kind of proxy for Nexstar, which would result in issues regarding ownership and competition because Nexstar already owns stations in Davenport and Shreveport, as well as in opposition to the FCC’s policy of encouraging black ownership of broadcast stations.

The FCC, after comments filed by both Mission and the trio of Randall, NNPA and CORE, dismissed these objections as “procedurally defective for lack of standing.” It argues that no specifics in how the sales would either violate the FCC’s rules or negatively impact the public interest were provided.

“The public interest is further served because prompt emergence from bankruptcy is critical to the continued operation of the stations, and facilitating prompt emergence ‘advanced public interest by providing economic and social benefits,’ especially including the compensation of innocent creditors,” the FCC said in its decision. “For these reasons, we find that the assignment of the stations from Marshall to Mission is in the public interest, and we therefore grant the applications.”

TV Technology’s sister publication B+C detailed an ongoing dispute between Marshall and Nexstar, with Marshall suing Nexstar and suggesting that after securing the Tribune deal it worked to “sabotage MBG” and run it out of business. Nexstar denies these claims.