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Univision Has Plan to Meet Ownership Restrictions After Merger

Univision Has Plan to Meet Ownership Restrictions After Merger

Media

by Claudia Peschiutta

Univision Communications Inc. has figured out a way to take over 55 radio stations throughout the United States without violating the Federal Communications Commission’s cross-ownership restrictions.

The L.A.-based media giant was in danger of violating FCC rules in some markets once its merger with radio station owner Hispanic Broadcasting Corp. was completed. That’s because Univision has a 31-percent stake in Entravision Communications Corp., which owns and operates dozens of radio and television stations nationwide.

The FCC prohibits a company with two television stations in one market from owning more than six radio stations in the same area. That posed a problem for Univision, which owns the Univision and TeleFutura networks.

To come into compliance, Univision plans to restructure its ownership interest in Entravision by exchanging common stock for non-voting stock, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Univision expects to complete its merger with Hispanic Broadcasting, which owns or operates 55 radio stations, later this year. The deal is an all-stock deal worth about $3.5 billion.

Moment of Silence

While a proposal to go commercial-free on Sept. 11 never got off the ground, L.A. radio stations will commemorate the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks with what’s expected to be a market-wide moment of silence.

The majority of local stations have agreed to go quiet for one minute at 5:45 a.m. PDT about the time when the first plane struck the World Trade Center. The stations are following the lead of Clear Channel Communications Corp., which plans to observe a moment of silence on its more than 1,200 radio stations, including the eight it owns in L.A.

“To my knowledge, nothing like this has happened (in L.A.) before,” said Mary Beth Garber, president of the Southern California Broadcasters Association. The group is coordinating the effort.

“Basically, everybody came out and said, ‘Yeah, let’s do this,'” she said.

Though stations will be running ads on Sept. 11, there will be fewer spots than usual, given that many advertisers are shying away from buying time for that day.

Confidential Matters

Flashy magazine publisher Jason Binn launched Los Angeles Confidential with the hope of creating enough buzz to land in the New York Post’s Page Six column.

The talk has died down since Confidential’s debut earlier this year but the Miramax Films-backed magazine is making a comeback this month with its second issue and a circulation boost.

For the Emmy/Fall fashion-themed issue, circulation will be increased to 75,000, up from 50,000. Binn says Confidential’s advertising revenues are up about 30 percent and ad pages have climbed from 65 in the first issue to nearly 80 in the second.

While sold on newsstands, the magazine is mostly distributed for free at Miramax events, hotels and restaurants and private parties. It’s also given out in limousines, private jets and spas.

Confidential is put out by Niche Media LLC, publisher of society magazines such as New York’s Gotham and Long Island’s Hamptons. Binn plans to make the magazine a monthly next year.

Publishers’ Dispute

Two local newspaper publishers last week were far from working out a dispute over a sale gone sour.

National Media Inc. is suing Equal Access Media Inc. for more than $622,000 it claims to be owed for the sale of Los Angeles Independent Newspaper Group. While the case originally had been scheduled for a jury trial, the matter has since been moved to the state appellate court, where it’s being reviewed.

The case ended up in appellate court due to a venue dispute. Equal Access believes the matter should be settled through arbitration, instead of litigation. The appellate court will decide whether the case goes to court or not.

“We’re sort of in limbo area,” said Attorney David Rodriguez of McClain-Hill Associates, the firm representing Equal Access. He declined to say whether a settlement was being considered.

“Both parties are going to have their differences of opinion and we’re not going to convince each other,” Rodriguez said.

National Media, publisher of The Beach Reporter and the Palos Verdes Peninsula News, sold five community newspapers to Houston-based Equal Access last year. Equal Access publishes the Wave Community Newspapers.

In Other News

The Los Angeles Garment & Citizen, a weekly newspaper distributed in downtown, raised its circulation to 5,100…KTLA-TV (Channel 5) is going with commercial-free news coverage for much of the day on Sept. 11. From 5 a.m. to midnight, six hours will be devoted to regular programming…A statue commissioned by talk station KABC-AM (790) will be unveiled at the L.A. County Board of Supervisors’ ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the terrorist attacks Sept. 11 at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration. “Towering Memories” is an 8-foot-tall sculpture by artist David Haskell that features the names of 3,031 victims.

Staff reporter Claudia Peschiutta can be reached at (323) 549-5225 ext. 229, or at

cpeschiutta@labusinessjournal.com.

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