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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, September 27, 2001

Owner of KHON, KGMB wins more time to comply legally

Advertiser Staff and News Services

Emmis Communications Corp., owner of TV stations KHON and KGMB, has until April 1 to sell or otherwise divest itself of one of the two local stations.

The Federal Communications Commission extended a temporary regulatory waiver, set to expire Monday, allowing Emmis to own both stations for another six months. FCC rules bar ownership of two stations in the same market when they rank among the top four in audience share.

Indianapolis-based Emmis acquired CBS affiliate KGMB last October as part of a 15-station purchase from Davenport, Iowa-based Lee Enterprises Inc.

Emmis bought FOX affiliate KHON in 1998.

The FCC granted the extension because it was satisfied the company has been making a "good-faith effort" to sell one of the stations, said Emmis spokeswoman Kate Healey.

The waiver is the third the FCC has given Emmis. The company was granted a six-month waiver when it purchased KGMB and again in March.

When Emmis announced plans to buy KGMB, Jeff Smulyan, chairman and chief executive, said he would like to operate both stations. "Those (FCC) rules are so fluid, you never know," he said.

Also yesterday, Emmis, which owns New York City's No. 1 radio station, Hot 97 WQHT, said it had a second-quarter loss and may lower expectations for the year because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The quarterly loss was $7.15 million, or 20 cents a share, compared with net income of $16.6 million, or 30 cents, a year earlier. Revenue in the period ended Aug. 31 rose 31 percent to $142.4 million from $109.1 million.

Most of Emmis' 23 radio and 15 television stations ran no commercials in the days after the attacks, Smulyan said. Third- and fourth-quarter results will be hurt, but it's too soon to estimate those results, he said.

"While we think business is coming back, it's very difficult to give long-term guidance at a time like this," Smulyan said. "None of us has been here before."