I Don’t Know What I Don’t Know About Television Ownership and Where is UnderDog and Sweet Polly Purebred

A friend of mine once told me that a mutual acquaintance of ours “didn’t know what he didn’t know” about a particular subject.  I find myself in that same situation about local TV ownership.  I was under the impression (and I don’t do impressions)  that a group could own more than one TV station in a market if the 2nd station was for all practical purposes the 90 pound weakling.  ClearChannel could own WPTY AND WLMT in Memphis because WLMT wasn’t one of the power house stations in the Memphis market.  With that line of reasoning, I figured that if Oak Hill which bought WREG and the rest of the NYTimes Broadcast Group, bought the nine Fox O & Os which includes WHBQ in Memphis that it would have to resell Fox 13 almost immediately.  Apparently that is NOT the case.  I don’t know the details but I’m told that it IS possible for that dual ownership to work.  Now I don’t know  whether the two stations have to be run completely separate or the resources (news, sales and production) could be combined which would make a great juggernaut in the market.  Perhaps The GM might be able to weigh in on this and offer some expertise.  Anyway, it will be interesting to see what unfolds from all of this since it appears Oak Hill was the only serious bidder for the Fox O & Os.

I was once told to never discuss politics or religion at parties, social gatherings and most recently on this blog. Okay, for the record I’m not discussing politics but I am making an observation. Look at these two photographs and tell me honestly that you don’t see a similarity. simonbarsinister.jpg

Rudy Giuliani/Former Mayor of NYC

I was watching one of the cable news outlets when I saw some video of Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York and I was trying to figure out why the image seemed to be familiar. Then it dawned on me. Have you ever noticed the similarity between hizzoner and Simon Bar Sinster, the mad scientist from the old UnderDog cartoon featuring Wally Cox as the voice of UnderDog. All Simon had to do was show up and meek and mild Shoeshine Boy would transform into rhyme speaking UnderDog. “There’s no need to fear, UnderDog is here!” How in the world I had not managed to kill those particular brain cells after all these years of trying just beats the heck out of me.

Now, before someone rips me a new one (and I don’t need a new one as the old one works just fine) I just want to go on the record as saying that I’m not implying that RG is a mad scientist or even crazy. I’m just saying the resemblance is “interesting”. I’m sure if we all put out minds to it it, we’d find that other candidates look similar to some cartoon character. I just happen to think of Simon Bar Sinister in this particular instance. Now, does anyone out there in the political arena remotely resemble Polly Purebred, the girlfriend of UnderDog. I’ll stop writing on that note before I get more people P-Oed.

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6 Comments on “I Don’t Know What I Don’t Know About Television Ownership and Where is UnderDog and Sweet Polly Purebred”

  1. Richard.... Says:

    I’ll go out on a limb here and say…..Hillary?

  2. The GM Says:

    Regarding duopolies, I cannot offer expert advise because my understanding is that both WREG and WHBQ have too high a percentage of the market ratings and revenue and neither is a “failing station” to qualify for a waiver. The WPTY/WLMT marriage works because when WPYT took over management of WLMT, it was an also ran. I’d bet you a dollar to a donut the 90 lb weakling in that arrangement isn’t WLMT — at least not when it was UPN. The CW switch may have reshuffled the ratings deck.

    My best guess is that Oak Hill will have to divest of one or the other but it is really for the FCC to decide. Based on the decisions coming out of there, it may be some time in the distant future.

    The GM

  3. joelarkins Says:

    I was under the same impression as you regarding the strength of the stations and the whole duopoly thing. However I was told recently that may not always be the case and the Oak Hill might pull this off in Memphis with less trouble than I thought. As for WLMT, yes, its strength as a UPN station made it one of the strongest in the country. I let my fingers over-ride my brain on that remark and apologize on that count.

  4. The GM Says:

    My sense is Oak Hill has enough lawyers with deep enough pockets to lobby lawmakers to get a waiver. Will they? Who knows. Follow the money.
    The GM

    P.S. No need to apologize. Many, many folks assume WLMT is the weak sister in that relationship. They forget Memphis is a very ethnic audience and WLMT serves that audience better than WPTY.

  5. Doug J. Says:

    There may never be a 3/13 combo here in the Memphis metroplex…

    I often wonder how I got along before Wikipedia. We weren’t allowed to use it as a source at CNN, but we could get basic information there and use it to start the research process.

    Here’s a pertinent section from it’s entry on duopoly:

    “Duopolies were not allowed in the United States until 2001. The Federal Communications Commission allows common ownership of two stations in a single market with two conditions:

    There must be at least eight unique station owners left in the market once a duopoly is formed. In effect, duopolies are not allowed in any market with fewer than nine full-power stations (counting noncommercial stations).
    Two of the four highest-rated stations in a market cannot be owned by the same person.
    There are at least two cases where a company has been accused of having duopolies where they aren’t legally permitted by using shell corporations to control a second station in a market.”

  6. actsnetwork Says:

    Wikipedia doesn’t know everything DJ.
    Are you Loverboy or the qb?

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