Trade Group Criticizes KMSB/KOLD Deal as Showing 'Disdain for the Public Interest'

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The head of the American Cable Association is saying that the deal for Raycom and KOLD Channel 13 to take over production of Belo-owned KMSB Channel 11's newscasts is a violation of at least the spirit of Federal Communications Commission rules designed to protect the public interest.

"With breathtaking disdain for the public interest, Raycom is seizing effective control of Tucson's CBS and Fox affiliates just as the FCC is about to release a notice of proposed rulemaking asking to what extent such deals violate the ban on consolidation among the top four local stations," said ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka in a news release. "As we've seen elsewhere, SSAs are strong indicators of bad news to come, including higher retransmission consent fees; higher advertising rates; less competition, localism and diversity; and job loss among news reporters and production employees."

In related news: Peter Diaz, the president of media operations for Belo, told TVNewsCheck.com that the poor Tucson economy was one reason for the decision.

“The Tucson economy has not been good,” Diaz said. “The way we look at it, this move allows us to increase our news product that we couldn’t afford to do otherwise.”

That article also noted that master-control functions for KMSB that have been controlled by KMSB's sister station in Phoenix will also be taken over by Raycom/KOLD.

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