Kaut Selected to Affiliate with Fox Broadcasting Co

Article excerpt

Oklahoma City independent television station KAUT-TV Channel 43 has been selected to affiliate with Fox Broadcasting Co., the lastest entrant in the national television network market, the station announced Thursday.

Fox, which announced its intention last spring to contest the three current networks, is expected to launch its programming in October with the 10 p.m. weeknight broadcast of a talk show hosted by comedian Joan Rivers.

Rivers' talk show will go up against such established network programming as the talk show Rivers once guest-hosted for Johnny Carson.

KAUT-TV is owned by Rollins Communications Inc. of Atlanta. In May, Heritage Communications Inc. of Des Moines, Iowa, purchased 44 percent of Rollins and by the end of the year plans to acquire controlling interest in Rollins, pending Federal Communications Commission approval.

Heritage, which owns 140 cable television systems with 720,000 subscribers, entered the broadcast field in 1985 by purchasing a television station in South Dakota. Since then, Heritage has purchased interests in stations in Maine, South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida. Heritage has also purchased a radio station in Maine.

The holdings of Rollins include four television stations and six radio stations.

KAUT vied for the affiliation along side the other two independant stations in Oklahoma City, KGMC-TV Channel 34 and KOKH-TV Channel 25, both of which actually have more viewers than KAUT-TV.

However, KAUT's rate of growth was part of the reason it was selected above the other local contenders, according to Jack O'Meara, promotions manager.

According to Arbitron Rating Service, which rates broadcasting stations, the three independent television channels all increased the total number of households in their weekly viewing audience between May 1985 and May 1986, with KAUT showing the greatest percentage increase, to 257,000 from 231,000, an 11.26 percent increase.

KGMC growth was to 270,000 households, from 269,000; while KOKH increased to 342,000 from 312,000, a 9.6 percent change.

In most areas, Fox signed on the independent station with the largest number of viewers as its area affiliate, O'Meara said.

Although KAUT is not the largest station, O'Meara says new programming lined up next fall, including re-runs of "Magnum PI," "Facts of Life," and "Falcon Crest" to be broadcast in the fall, should help boost market share - another factor in Fox's decision.

"Another advantage is KAUT's broadcast tower, the tallest broadcast tower in central Oklahoma, and the station's signal. …