An unusual LMA-In-Univision sale of 18 radio stations has been challenged in a petition opposing the sale. | story | Panda Anku

the high controversial sale of 18 Spanish-language radio stations TelevisaUnivision to Latino Media Group faces further opposition from the Federal Communications Commission. A petition to reject the $60 million sale was filed by a loyal listener to speak with “Radio Mambi” WAQI Miami (710) and “Univision America” ​​WQBA (1140) Miami, who took questions about the somewhat unusual nature of the local marketing of the deal raises approval.

In a letter to the FCC, Dr. Pedro Roig, who describes himself as a longtime Miami resident and an “eager listener” to the two stations, said he was “dismayed” at the sale of the stations “to a company that we believe will not be in their interests serve the community.”

Roig alleges that the license transfer requests do not contain enough information for the FCC to determine whether their issuance is in the public interest. “We urge the FCC to withhold action on the applications until the parties have provided additional relevant and comprehensive information and the agency has given interested persons a reasonable opportunity to review and comment,” the letter said.

The main concern raised by Roig relates to the somewhat unusual nature of the local marketing arrangement that the two parties have agreed on. Unlike most LMAs, where the buyer takes control of the station’s programming before closing, this one flips the script. At closing, LMN will lease the channels back to TelevisaUnivision, which will license programming and content to LMN. Roig argues that this violates the Commission’s “right-to-use” rules.

In addition, the standard clause prohibiting the poaching of station staff comes into effect at the end of the LMA rather than at the conclusion. Roig calls this and other aspects of the purchase agreement “highly unusual”. He also questions a “transition plan” outlined in the purchase agreement that would transfer distribution and LMA services to the buyer, the broadcasters, or a successor provider after the closing.

“The exceptional programming elements of the post-closing transaction raise other questions that go beyond the ‘right to use’ prohibition and raise the broader question of the extent to which Univision is actually ‘selling’ its channels to LMN in the traditional sense,” the letter says.

The letter also considers the formation of a steering committee to oversee the transition and the LMA services provided by Univision, to be composed of five representatives from Univision and three from LMN. And wonders if “LMN will acquire all of the station’s assets or not many at all.”

Faced with questions about the nature of the deal, Roig would like the transfer apps modified to provide detailing of included and excluded assets, among other exhibits referenced but not included in the public filing of the sale.

He also wants to take a look at the warrant under which Lakestar Finance, a company linked to a fund tied to billionaire George Soros, will get up to a 49% stake in LMN to provide debt financing.

The sale, announced in June, affects 18 stations, including 10 AMs and eight FMs, in the largest US markets, including eight of the top 10 Latino markets. The markets included are Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, Chicago, Dallas, San Antonio, McAllen, Fresno and Las Vegas. According to LMN, a new company founded by social entrepreneurs Stephanie Valencia and Jess Morales Rocketto with the backing of a group of investors, the channels reach nearly a third of the US Latino population.

The deal has provoked passionate reactions from parties both for and against the deal. On Aug. 12, Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA) wrote to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, urging the agency to “fully and fairly review the transfer,” saying the sale would “serve the public interest and the mandate.” of the FCC by increasing competition and diversity among licensees who benefit from the public airwaves.” In June, a group of Republican lawmakers led by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) asked the FCC to “examine the deal thoroughly” and claimed the new owner could “exercise virtually unquestioned influence over nearly a third of all Hispanics nationwide.”

The concern in Miami’s Cuban exile community is that LMN, whose founders and financiers have ties to the Democratic Party, will transform WAQI and WQBA from hard-line conservative entities serving Miami’s predominantly right-wing Cuban population into bastions for left-wing viewpoints.

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