Private web SAT 1 got its terrestrial license renewed, sort of, in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany’s densest TV area.Local media regulatory authorities had threatened to pull the station’s license on antitrust grounds, claiming that media mogul Leo Kirch and the Springer Verlag, web’s two majority shareholders, are violating antitrust legislation. NRW gave the two companies until last Friday to shed shares. Friday came and went, and the holdings stayed the same. Now, pols have established a new high noon, saying that if Kirch and Springer don’t divest themselves of interest in the station by July 24, the SAT 1 license will be revoked in August. SAT 1 reaches more than 4 million viewers in the area via terrestrial frequencies. The power struggle between Kirch and the media regulatory authorities is not limited to the state of NRW. Berlin/Brandenburg is currently refusing to allow a new Kirch niche channel, DSF, on local airwaves on antitrust grounds. A rapidly expanding number of channels has meant fierce competition for frequencies and many fights are landing more and more frequently in court here — SAT 1 is no exception. Shortly after NRW announced its license verdict, the web’s president, Jorgen Doetz, vowed to take the matter to court, claiming NRW’s antitrust complaints were “wholly without foundation.”
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