In its latest move to expand a growing foothold in Alaska television coverage, communications provider GCI has reached a deal to purchase three Southeast Alaska CBS affiliates in Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka.
GCI spokesperson David Morris confirms the Nov. 9 purchase agreement filed in a Dec. 9 application with the Federal Communications Commission. GCI subsidiary Denali Media Juneau Corp. will pay Ketchikan TV LLC and GreenTV Corp. a total of $1 million to acquire KXLJ-LD in Juneau, KUBD in Ketchikan and KTNL-TV in Sitka.
Morris expects an answer from the FCC by the second quarter of 2014.
The agreement (PDF) includes the stations’ FCC licenses, $116,100 in transmitters and electronics among the stations, leased space on 9th Avenue in Juneau for KXLJ-LD and Tongass Avenue in Ketchikan for KUBD, and the sites of KUBD’s and KTNL’s Ketchikan and Sitka transmitters. A note in the agreement indicates that the sellers’ split of proceeds will be determined after the deal’s closing.
Along with Channel 2 owner Northern Lights Media, Inc., Vision Alaska LLC and Coastal Television Broadcasting LLC, Ketchikan TV LLC was one of four Alaska broadcasters which filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission earlier this year to block GCI’s first purchase of three television stations. That petition was denied in October by the FCC, which allowed GCI to take possession of KTVA-TV in Anchorage, KATH-TV in Juneau and KSCT-TV in Sitka.
The purchases would add greater depth to GCI’s CBS lineup, which currently only includes KTVA. That station has recently begun to air an updated newscast, from new studios located in the Anchorage Daily News building on Northway Drive near DeBarr Road.
The latest deal would also give GCI two stations on the dial in both Juneau and Sitka alongside those towns’ NBC affiliates, KATH and KSCT.
KTUU-TV Marketing Director Brad Hillwig says the deal offers insight on a recent collapse in negotiations between KTUU-TV and GCI, which saw Channel 2’s signal in Juneau and Sitka removed from GCI carriage last week. Each side accuses the other’s lawyers of adding unacceptable conditions to a Nov. 22 agreement in principle.
“What this really does is signifies GCI’s intent to seize control of Alaska’s broadcast market, and really illustrates in large part why we weren’t able to reach a deal on that agreement in principle recently,” Hillwig said.
The new deal to purchase the Southeast Alaska CBS affiliates is subject to approval by the FCC, as was GCI’s purchase of KTVA, KATH and KSCT.
Channel 2's Josh Staab contributed to this report.
This is a developing story. Please check KTUU.com and the Channel 2 newscasts for updates.