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Newspaper owner says company will buy TV station

Posted: Tuesday, June 03, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) Owners of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner likely will buy KTVF-TV under reworked federal rules approved Monday, according to company officials.

The two businesses will share at least some information between now-competing newsrooms. Company officials said the deal promises better news coverage in Fairbanks.

''This is not a revolutionary change. It's one of cooperation more than it is of consolidation,'' said News-Miner owner William Dean Singleton in a News-Miner story.

Singleton is vice chairman and chief executive officer of MediaNews Group, which owns 50 daily newspapers nationwide. At a Senate hearing last month he testified in favor of relaxing media ownership rules.

The News-Miner and the Kodiak Daily-Mirror are owned by Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Inc., which is owned by a trust belonging to the families of Singleton and MediaNews Group co-founder Richard Scudder.

The Fairbanks newspaper company has had an option to buy KTVF for several years in anticipation of the FCC decision, which lifted the ban on cross-ownership. Under the new rules, a single company will be allowed to own a newspaper, television station and a limited number of radio stations in a market that has four to eight TV stations.

Clear Channel Communications, a giant in the radio business, currently owns KTVF and four of Fairbanks' six local radio stations.

''Technically, the News-Miner, according to these rules, cannot only own us, they can own three other radio stations,'' said Bill Wright, KTVF general manager.

Critics of the FCC decision said it could lead to news being controlled by only a few major companies, and the sentiment was reflected by some in Fairbanks.

''I am always disturbed by a lessening of plurality of voices in any market and that is what is going to happen here,'' said Joy Morrison, head of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Department of Journalism. ''We have one less different voice.''

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