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July 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

A bankruptcy court in Delaware today (Friday) approved a plan that will allow Tribune Co. to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but there remained a rankling question of whether the new ownership group will be able to persuade the FCC to allow it to hold on to all of its 21 television stations and one radio station. In recent years the FCC has granted waivers where Tribune operates so-called duopolies, broadcast and newspaper holdings in the same market — which are ordinarily barred under FCC rules. Those waivers cover four markets including Chicago, where the company owns the flagship Chicago Tribune as well as WGN (whose call letters stand for World’s Greatest Newspaper) and Los Angeles, where it owns the Los Angeles Times and KTLA. Tribune also owns television stations in many of the top U.S. markets, including New York (WPIX), Washington D.C. (WDCW), Philadelphia (WPHL), Dallas (KDAF), Houston (KIAH), San Diego (KSWB), Denver (KWGN), Miami (WSFL), St. Louis (KPLR), Portland, OR (KRCW), and New Orleans (WNOL). An Associated Press report indicated that the transfer of licenses to the new owners is complicated by the fact that some of them likely own interests in other media companies in markets where Tribune now operates and that the FCC may require the owners to sell some Tribune stations or others that they had previously acquired. Analysts agreed that the transfer process could prove to be lengthy — from at least six months to well over a year. The new ownership group is led by hedge fund Oaktree Capital Management, JPMorgan Chase and Angelo, Gordon & Co.