'Zombie station' KBEH withdraws application to sell for $10M

TV tower
KBEH owner Hero Licenseco sold its 6 MHz of spectrum in the auction for $146.6 million and had indicated it would enter a channel sharing agreement with KWHY.

So-called zombie station KBEH, which sold its broadcast spectrum during an FCC auction earlier this year, has withdrawn its application to sell its station and other assets for $10 million.

The FCC filing does not explain why the application was withdrawn.

KBEH owner Hero Licenseco sold its 6 MHz of spectrum in the auction for $146.6 million and had indicated it would enter a channel sharing agreement with KWHY. But then KBEH entered an agreement to sell its station and related assets—including license and cable must-carry rights—to KWHY owner Meruelo.

During a meeting in May, representatives from Hero Licenseco and Meruelo explained to FCC Media Bureau officials and FCC general counsel that both companies had contemplated a commission grant of the application and closing on the sale of the station prior to implementation of the Channel Sharing Agreement (“CSA”) and therefore the parties had requested consent to assignment of the license of KBEH rather than for consent to channel share.

Related: Broadcasters score $10B from FCC's spectrum auctions

In a joint filing yesterday, a group of broadcasters (dubbed the “Free Market Commenters”) said that by not processing process applications to assign the licenses of winning channel share bidders in the normal course of business, the Media Bureau is disrupting the allocation of licenses.

“The KBEH Public Notice has already stymied several transactions of which the Free Market Commenters are aware, as parties await further guidance on how the Commission will process applications many broadcasters always believed were consistent with existing FCC Rules. Given the short timeline for broadcasters to enter into and enact channel sharing arrangements, any delay could hinder both individual transactions and the post-auction transition as a whole,” the commenters wrote.

KBEH is a Spanish language broadcast TV station serving Oxnard and Los Angeles. The station launched in 2004 and is owned by Hero Broadcasting, a privately-held television affiliate station group launched in 2007.