First, Hearst already owns a second station in the DMA: WMUR. I’m pretty sure that the pair counts as a regular duopoly. Also, I’m pretty sure that the regulations still prohibit co-ownership of two of the four highest-rated stations within a market. If WFXT is no longer among the top four (e.g., due to the aftereffects of NBC’s move), then co-ownership could be possible–but I still doubt that it would come at the expense of spinning off WMUR.
Excellent points. Let me rephrase what I said in original post: if left with the necessary choice of keeping WCVB or WFXT..its 100% certain Hearst would retain WCVB… which is one of its crown jewels. But those are interesting possibilities.
Also 100% certain Hearst would retain WCVB and sell 25. So it will be another interesting year in local broadcast media ownership.
Why could they keep both?
Those are a CBS/MyTV** duopoly and an indie/CW duopoly, respectively. Even WBTS-WYCN/WNEU is a natural NBC/Telemundo duop, albeit in an unconventional setup. An ABC/Fox duopoly for a top 10 market like Boston would not fly, let alone WMUR right next door.
Far more likely Hearst immediately resells WFXT back to Fox if they win the bidding for Cox, which is the reverse of what MetroMedia did in 1986 when News Corp. acquired them (and WCVB was immediately spun off by MM over to Hearst).
**MyTV isn’t even a network, for all intents and purposes, WSBK has been an independent since 2006.
Recorded in Ultra Stereo, the ultimately superior cousin to Normal Stereo!