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GCI to purchase three more SE stations

Juneau's KXLJ is part of the acquisition

Posted: December 13, 2013 - 1:05am

GCI will acquire three more Southeast Alaska broadcast stations from Colorado-based Ketchikan TV. The growing telecommunications company announced Thursday its plans to purchase Juneau’s KXLJ-LD, Ketchikan’s KUBD and Sitka’s KTNL-TV via its subsidiary, Denali Media Holdings. According to the asset purchase agreement between GCI and Ketchikan TV, GCI will purchase the CBS affiliates for $1 million.

GCI submitted an application for approval of the purchase to the Federal Communications Commission on Monday, GCI spokesman David Morris said. The company expects it to be approved by June 30, 2014, he said.

“But it’s the FCC so you kind of go at their pace,” he said.

Once GCI owns and operates them, the three stations will be upgraded to high definition, Morris said. Additionally, the stations’ feeds will no longer be bounced in by satellite from Colorado; content will be piped in via fiber from Anchorage, he said.

“The quality will be higher,” Morris said.

Earlier this year, GCI purchased Juneau’s KATH-TV, Anchorage’s KTVA-TV and Sitka’s KSCT-TV. GCI announced its intention to purchase the stations in November 2012.

In March 2013, some Alaska broadcast companies, including Northern Lights Media, which owns Anchorage’s KTUU, tried to petition GCI’s purchase of the broadcast stations, according to a past Empire report. In the report, KTUU General Manager Andrew MacLeod said GCI’s acquisition of the stations was an attempt to remove its competition from the news industry. KTUU and GCI are now locked in a business stalemate that left about 20,000 customers in Southeast and rural Alaska without KTUU’s Channel 2 News when both companies could not come to a carriage agreement after months of talks.

The new acquisition will help “extend the investment we put into KTVA,” Morris said. “We can then produce local statewide signal.”

Morris didn’t have specifics on further expansion of GCI, but said “we’re always on the lookout for new opportunities.”

• Contact reporter Katie Moritz at 523-2294 or at katherine.moritz@juneauempire.com. Follow her on Twitter @katecmoritz.

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