Chancellor buys island TV outlet

FCC OK expected next year

MIAMI — Less than two months after buying Puerto Rico’s top radio group, Chancellor Media has acquired the island’s No. 2 TV channel. Chancellor has agreed to pay G.E. Capital $69.5 million for full ownership of WAPA (Channel 4), station G.M. Jose Ramos confirmed.

Deal now goes to the FCC for approval, which Ramos said is expected by March or early April 1999.

In July, Chancellor paid $75 million for the Primedia Broadcast Group, which owns eight FM stations in Puerto Rico (Daily Variety, July 28).

“We’ll be working very closely with Primedia in creating synergies, promotion-wise, and in creating one-stop shopping for advertisers,” said Ramos, who will remain as G.M.

Puerto Rico has a $160 million TV ad pie, which is likely to grow 5% this year.

Chancellor’s purchase is the second by a U.S. company of a Puerto Rican broadcaster this year. Alabama-based station group Raicom bought third-ranked WLII, within a group of seven stations it acquired from Malrite of Cleveland.

After Ramos joined WAPA from the island’s Telemundo-owned market leader WKAQ in January, the station drew level with WLII in audience ratings.

Lately it has fared even better, owning a 30% primetime share, versus 27% for WLII, Ramos reports.

WAPA’s numbers have been boosted in recent weeks by primetime telenovela “Mirada de Mujer,” an import from Mexico’s TV Azteca with a more upmarket appeal than most Latin sudsers.

Ramos said the Chancellor buyout could lead to a greater focus on local production, one of the station’s strengths, particularly in news.

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