Worried investors fear station may close

PRAGUE — The license holder for struggling commercial station TV3 has asked the Czech Broadcasting Council for a 30-day broadcast break, sparking fears he might close the station and relaunch it with new investors.

Martin Kindernay’s move echoes that of Vladimir Zelezny, who ousted American-backed CME from leading broadcaster Nova TV in 1999.

Kindernay contacted the CBC after staff removed equipment from the Hradec Kralove studio and sent it to Prague. TV3 has indicated that even if Kindernay halts terrestrial broadcasts, the station could continue cable and satellite broadcasts, which are controlled by TV3.

The regional web has struggled since failing to win extra frequencies.

Worried TV3 investors, the majority of whom are from the U.S., claim Kindernay broke an agreement to transfer the license from himself to a company under their control. Instead, he has transferred the license to RTV Galaxie, a company that he established. As a result, the investors say he owes more than $3 million as a contractual penalty, which was due Oct. 19.

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