KPXJ-TV Transferred on Failed Station Waiver

MINDEN,LA.: KPXJ-TV, a CW affiliate in the Shreveport market, is becoming a duopoly by virtue of an FCC failed station waiver. The commission is allowing the owners of the local ABC affiliate, KTBS-TV, to buy KPXJ because no other viable offers were made for the station. Both stations are currently owned by members of the same family.

Shreveport is No. 97 among the nation’s 210 designated market areas. FCC rules prohibit dual ownership in smaller markets, unless financial hardship and imminent demise is demonstrated. KTBS was gasping for breath.

The station’s audience share hovered around 1 percent for the last three years, excepting two months. It also operated at a loss for those three years.

“In these circumstances, it is unsurprising that an out-of-market buyer cannot be found,” the FCC’s waiver stated.

The deal was priced at $10.3 million when it was first announced last January that Edwin Wray, president of KTBS, would buy KPXJ from Minden Television, headed by Lauren Wray-Ostendorff. Both have been operating under joint sales and shared service agreements for several years.

Wray-Ostendorff brought in Paramount Media to market KPXJ, the FCC document said. Paramount’s chief Brian Byrnes said his firm contacted “30 prospective buyers who are active in the television broadcast industry,” many of which owned stations in similarly sized markets, and many with CW affiliates.

“Only one of the prospective buyers expressed sufficient interest to sign a non-disclosure agreement and receive a detailed offering memorandum concerning the station. After receiving the offering memorandum, that prospective buyer expressed no further interest in the station,” it said. “Mr. Byrnes states that, in spite of this marketing process, no out-of-market buyer has made any offer of any kind to purchase KPXJ.”

KTBS was first named as the buyer for KPXJ in June of 2003, when Paxson Communications agreed to sell it to the Wray family for $10 million.
-- Deborah D. McAdams