The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

WADL to hold fresh meeting with FCC as sale to Mission remains pending

It will be the fifth time Kevin Adell has met with FCC officials over the proposed sale to a Nexstar-controlled entity.

It will be the fifth time Kevin Adell has met with FCC officials over the proposed sale to a Nexstar-controlled entity.

Kevin Adell, the owner of Adell Broadcasting and WADL in Detroit. (Photo courtesy Adell Media)
Kevin Adell, the owner of Adell Broadcasting and WADL in Detroit. (Photo courtesy Adell Media)

The owner of a Detroit-area independent television station will meet with a Federal Communications Commisison (FCC) official on Thursday to discuss the pending sale of his broadcast outlet, The Desk has learned.

Facing opposition from pay TV groups, the acquisition of WADL (Channel 38) by Mission Broadcasting has been delayed nearly a year because the deal still need regulatory approval from the FCC.

Opponents alleged the deal would give Mission partner Nexstar Media Group more leverage to increase retransmission consent fees for the stations under its ownership and control. All stations licensed to Mission are operated by Nexstar under shared services agreements that are common in the industry.

Supporters of the deal include the Detroit chapter of the NAACP and Reverend Jesse Jackson, Jr., the leader of the Rainbow Push Coalition. Jackson has met with FCC commissioners several times over the past few months about the deal, and sent a letter to the FCC earlier this week urging the commission to approve the acquisition.

WADL owner Kevin Adell will meet with FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks on Thursday, he affirmed in a text message to The Desk this week. It will be his fifth meeting with officials at the FCC on the matter, which could be decided at any moment.

Late last week, Adell and Mission agreed to extend out a termination date for the deal, which was set to trigger at the end of March. At the urging of FCC Chairperson Jessica Rosenworcel, both sides agreed to push the termination date to late June.

If the deal is approved, Adell stands to receive $75 million, some of which will be disbursed to long-time, minority stakeholders who invested in WADL during its early years. The station will be operated through a shared services agreement with Nexstar, with WADL serving as the future home of the CW Network in Detroit. Currently, the affiliation is with a Scripps-owned independent station that competes head-to-head with WADL.

Adell says he remains optimistic that the deal will get the green-light, despite a recent unfavorable decision at the FCC over Nexstar’s operational control of Mission-owned WPIX (Channel 11, CW) in New York City. In that instance, the FCC said Nexstar had a little too much control over WPIX, making it a de facto owner of the station and putting it over federal ownership caps that limit the reach of any one broadcaster to 38 percent of the American television viewing audience.

Last week, the FCC said it was proposing a $1.2 million penalty against Nexstar for violating its federal ownership rules, and ordered Mission to divest WPIX. In a statement, Nexstar CEO Perry Sook denied the company’s shared services agreement violated the law, and executives at Nexstar say the broadcaster intends to appeal the matter.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Photo of author

About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
Home » News » Industries » Television » WADL to hold fresh meeting with FCC as sale to Mission remains pending