Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Heritage Media Plans to Buy Channel 25

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Heritage Media Plans to Buy Channel 25

Article excerpt

Applications are expected to be filed within the next two weeks for the acquisition of KOKH-TV Channel 25 by Heritage Media Corp., owner of KAUT-TV Channel 43.

Plans also call for KAUT-TV Channel 43 to be acquired by the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority. The purchase of Channel 43 by OETA is virtually assured as the result of action on Tuesday, the authority said.

The authority board accepted an offer by Heritage Media of Dallas to donate as a gift Channel 43's assignment, transmitter, transmission line, antenna and master control equipment, the authority said.

Robert Allen, authority executive director, said the gift is valued at about $1 million.

The move would mean a second station for the authority, which broadcasts in Oklahoma City on OETA-TV Channel 13.

The grant of Channel 43 is contingent upon Heritage Media's acquisition of KOKH-TV Channel 25 in Oklahoma City, the authority said.

Jack Robinette, president of Heritage's Television Group, declined to comment on the status of the Channel 25 transaction, other than to say that applications for both the Channel 43 and Channel 25 acquisitions have not yet been filed with the Federal Communications Commission.

He said the parties are expected to do so within the next two weeks.

The deal with the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, which is expected to be ratified by Heritage within a few days, also includes a two-year option to buy for $1.5 million the remaining assets of Channel 43, including 95 acres of land at 11901 N. Eastern Ave., the 20,000-square-foot studio and office complex, and the 1,596-foot tower.

Allen said authority broadcasting from Channel 43 is not dependent upon access to those facilities.

"We will have access to the transmission system," he said. "The master control room is the room that contains the equipment that allows the broadcaster to put programs on the air, and that comes with the agreement."

Following ratification of the agreement, Heritage and OETA would file simultaneous applications with the Federal Communications Commission to execute the transfer, the authority said.

Allen said the move is "a major step in extending OETA's reach and impact with high-quality programming that serves our state's educational needs."

OETA will obtain Channel 43, a ten-year-old UHF affiliate, and launch a second educational television channel, "The Literacy Channel," transmitting from Oklahoma City, Allen said.

The authority will request start-up grants from private foundations to establish the new service, and will detail the utilization and effectiveness of the Literacy Channel, he said. The results of the study would be provided to the governor and Oklahoma Legislature next year for consideration of future state support, he said.

The Literacy Channel is scheduled to go on the air as a demonstration project next fall, reaching two-thirds of all Oklahomans through over-the-air broadcast and cable television outlets, Allen said.

A proposition two years ago for the authority to acquire Channel 43, involving Pappas Telecasting of California, did not pan out but it raised questions around the State Capitol, notably by then-Gov. …

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