WPRI SELL-OFF LOOMING

Should the Westinghouse/CBS merger go through, look for Group W to spinoff CBS-owned WPRI Providence, R.I.

Group W already owns WBZ Boston and there is a signal overlap that would require an FCC waiver for the company to own both stations. However, regardless of whether Westinghouse can get the waiver, the company may sell the station, sources indicated.

For starters, Group W could have owned a piece of the station when CBS bought it but chose not to.

CBS bought the station for $80 million last March after it formed its station-buying partnership with Group W last year, but Group W did not want to own the station then and apparently still feels that way.

Finding a buyer should not take CBS too long. One taker could be Renaissance Communications, which recently was outbid by NBC for Outlet Communications, owner of NBC affiliate WJAR Providence. If Renaissance did buy the station, which was going to be a CBS affiliate, it would likely switch to Fox, which is currently on UHF WNAC. Fox itself may look at the property as well should it come back on the market.

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