Thursday, April 19, 2007

Channel 42 to drop Azteca due to low ratings

Pappas Telecasting has terminated its affiliation agreement with Azteca America Network for KTNC-TV Channel 42 in the Bay Area and stations in Houston, Reno, Omaha and Sioux City. "Azteca America Network's programming has not developed and ratings have not grown as we had expected," CEO and chairman Harry Pappas said in a news release. Pappas hasn't announced what it will air starting July 1 when it pulls the plug on Azteca, or whether the stations will remain Spanish. Visalia-based Pappas has 31 stations including Fox, CBS, ABC, CW and MyNetworkTV affiliates.

KTNC-TV, licensed to Concord with a transmitter atop Mt. Diablo, was a religious station when it signed on in 1983. The owners went bankrupt in 1996. Pappas bought Channel 42 that year and turned it into a Spanish-language station. KTNC-TV simulcasts its programming on KUNO-TV Channel 8 in the Mendocino County city of Fort Bragg. Pappas also owns San Francisco's newest radio station, 50,000-watt KTRB-AM 860.

NBC Universal attempted unsuccessfully this year to get the FCC to not renew the license of Azteca's Los Angeles station. NBC U argued that Azteca was guilty of anti-competitive practices in Mexico, where it was running an intimidation campaign to keep NBC U's Telemundo out of the Mexican market. NBC U decided not to appeal the FCC's decision after Pappas decided to drop Azteca. Pappas operates Azteca's LA station, KAZA-TV 54, under a contract that expires next year.

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