KTUU parent company requests cancellation of proposed FCC fine

Gray Television.
Gray Television.(Source: Gray Television (custom credit) | Source: Gray Television)
Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 3:05 PM AKDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2021 at 7:59 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Gray Television, the parent company of Alaska’s News Source, is asking that a proposed fine from the Federal Communications Commission be canceled. The full response is available to read online on the company’s website.

Original story:

The Federal Communications Commission claims Gray Television — the parent company of Alaska’s News Source — violated one of its rules in the process of acquiring assets of KTVA, a former CBS-affiliated Anchorage television station, and is proposing the company pays a fine.

Gray purchased most of KTVA’s non-license assets when GCI announced it was selling the station last year.

The FCC has a rule that no company can own more than one of the top four full-power stations in a given market. The Local Television Ownership Rule establishes that “an entity may not own two full-power television stations in the same (designated market area) if both commonly owned stations are ranked among the top four rated stations in the market,” according to a notice of apparent liability published on July 7.

The regulation is meant to “promote competition and a diversity of viewpoints in local markets,” according to the FCC notice.

In the notice, the FCC alleges that Gray violated the rule when it began broadcasting KTVA’s program schedule on a full-power station, KYES. Gray subsequently moved the CBS programming over to a low-power station instead.

The programming was being broadcast on a full-power station from July 31, 2020 to March 3, 2021, when that switch was made, according to the notice.

The FCC set a fine of $518,283, which, according to the notice, is the statutory maximum.

Gray has 30 days from the publication of the notice to pay the fine. The company also has the option to appeal it.

“Gray Television will defend itself from the FCC’s allegations in the appropriate forum,” the company said in an email from a spokesperson. “Among other things, Gray will present facts that were not considered by the agency at this initial stage, including the fact that the FCC itself specifically approved the transaction structure used by GCI and Gray Television.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a link to Gray TV’s response to the proposed FCC fine, which was published on the company’s website on Aug. 9, 2021.

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