OETA to Sell KTLC-43 to Paramount Stations

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The Oklahoma Educational Television Authority board of directors voted unanimously Wednesday to accept Paramount Stations Group's $23.5 million cash bid to buy KTLC-43.

OETA will use the proceeds to help fund its transition to a digital signal and to establish an endowment for funding any additional costs involved in the transition, as well as the costs of maintaining the station.

The board determined the offer was the "highest and best" from among 10 bids by eight different organizations. The bid by the unit of Los Angeles-based Viacom included several noncash offers: * Paramount will continue to air KTLC programs from 9 a.m.-noon weekdays for five years. * It will provide OETA with $100,000 of promotion time annually on KTLC-43 for five years. * It will provide OETA access to Paramount Stations Group multistation digital equipment pricing for equipment purchases. * It will offer continuing employment of KLTC-43's current employees. * It will donate any equipment it disposes of to OETA. * It will simulcast eight hours of one fund-raising drive annually for five years. The bid also stipulates Paramount will pay the legal and regulatory costs associated with the sale, which must be approved by the Federal Communication Commission. OETA plans to submit the FCC applications by Jan. 21. Robert Allen, OETA's executive director, expects the approval process to take two to three months. The transaction is expected to close in April or May. The sale will not impact OETA broadcasts on its original Oklahoma City station, Channel 13. The authority has broadcast educational programs on both stations since purchasing KTLC from Heritage Media of Dallas in 1991 for $1.5 million. Allen said OETA had KTLC appraised about a year and a half ago at about $8.5 million to $9 million. In its Wednesday meeting, the board also discussed bids from Sinclair Broadcast Group of Baltimore and Maverick Media of Oklahoma City. Sinclair, which currently owns KOCB-34, offered $21.5 million cash with no noncash offers. Maverick Media offered $16.2 million cash plus the following: "equipment donation, support of fund- raising and telethon efforts, scholarship programs, internships, promotion of OETA or PBS programming and activities and other opportunities with an `intrinsic' value of $2 million annually for 10 years. …