Azteca allowed to retain license

MEXICO CITY — The Federal Communications Commission has denied a request by NBC Universal to revoke the license of U.S. Hispanic net Azteca America’s flagship L.A. station.

In a ruling issued to parties Friday, the FCC denied all objections to KAZA’s license renewal. NBC U had filed the complaint late last year alleging Azteca America, subsid of Mexican web TV Azteca, should not be allowed to operate a U.S. station. NBC U claimed the management had violated securities laws and was guilty of anti-competitive practices in Mexico.

The Azteca L.A. station is owned by Pappas Telecasting, which recently announced it would drop Azteca programming from five other stations, blaming low ratings. The L.A. station is run under a separate local marketing agreement and will continue broadcasting Azteca programming.

NBC said Monday that since Pappas was “severing its ties with TV Azteca,” it saw no need to appeal the FCC decision.

TV Azteca said in a statement Monday that the motion was a mean-spirited publicity stunt following disputes between TV Azteca and NBC Universal-owned Hispanic web Telemundo that are still being battled in both Mexican and U.S. courts.

“The decision by the FCC determined that the NBC Telemundo actions had no merit, and we suggest that they stop trying to place all of their business woes on TV Azteca,” TV Azteca prexy Adrian Steckel said in a statement Monday.

NBC Universal said in a statement that it “strongly” disagreed with the FCC decision, “especially since TV Azteca admitted the facts which form the basis for NBC Universal’s objection.”

Last fall, TV Azteca used court orders and, allegedly, its own corporate security to shut down the taping of reality competish “Quinceanera.”

TV Azteca claims the show violates agreements with host Alan Tacher, who formerly worked for Azteca. Telemundo claims the “raid” on a sound studio in Mexico City was part of an intimidation campaign to keep Telemundo out of the Mexican market, where it has been seeking a broadcast license.

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