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In the broadcasting industry (especially in North America), an owned-and-operated station (frequently abbreviated as O&O) usually refers to a television station or radio station that is owned by the network with which it is associated. This distinguishes such a station from an affiliate, whose ownership lies elsewhere other than the network it is linked to. For example: in the Boston television market, WBZ-TV carries CBS programming, and is owned by CBS Corporation. Also, WFXT-TV carries Fox programming and is owned by the Fox network’s parent, News Corporation. As such, WBZ-TV and WFXT-TV are both O&Os. On the other hand, WCVB-TV and WHDH-TV carry ABC and NBC programming respectively, but neither is owned by its parent network. As such, these two stations are considered affiliates. The concept of O&O is more clearly defined in North America (and to some extent, several other countries such as Australia and Brazil), where network-owned stations had historically been the exception rather than the rule. In such places, broadcasting licenses are generally issued on a local (rather than national) basis, and there is (or was) some sort of regulatory mechanism in place to prevent any company (including a broadcasting network) from owning stations in every market in the country. In other parts of the world, many television networks were given national broadcasting licenses at launch; as such, they have traditionally been mostly (or entirely) composed of O&Os, rendering a separate notion for such a concept redundant. and an owned-and-operated station (as suggested under "Ownership Info" on the FCC TV Query search for WABC-TV), this is not necessarily required, and may simply be a legal technicality formalizing the relationship of separate entities under the same parent company. In any event, this does not prevent a network from effectively dictating an O&O’s practices outside the scope of a normal affiliation agreement; for instance, network programming is very rarely preempted by O&Os, despite individual affiliates’ rights to do so. The term station correctly applies to the ownership of the station. For example, a station owned and operated by the ABC network is referred to as an ABC station or an ABC O&O, but normally should not be referred to as an affiliate. Likewise, a station not owned by ABC but contracted to air ABC’s programming is correctly referred to as an ABC affiliate; that is, the station is affiliated with ABC. However, informally or for promotional purposes, affiliated stations (or non-O&Os) are sometimes referred to as a network station, as in “WJLA is an ABC station” even though that ABC affiliate is owned by Allbritton Communications Company. Correct formal phrasing could be, "ABC affiliate WJLA is an Allbritton station." Similarly, one may informally refer to "ABC affiliates" in regards to all stations (including O&Os) that air ABC programming, or to "the ABC affiliation" in regards to the transfer of rights to ABC programming from an affiliate to an O&O. Some stations that are owned by networks but air another network’s programming are referred to as an affiliate of the network they air. For example, WBFS in Miami is owned by the CBS network’s parent company but airs programming from MyNetworkTV; it is a MyNetworkTV affiliate. Prior to the Fall 2006 shutdown of the CBS-owned UPN television network, WBFS aired that network’s programming; therefore, WBFS was a UPN O&O. The stations airing The WB television network are another example of O&Os. The ownership of The WB was shared between Warner Bros. (a subsidiary of Time Warner),
Usage of the term
In the broadcasting industry, the term owned-and-operated station refers exclusively to stations that are owned by television and radio networks. On the other hand, the term affiliate only applies to stations that are not owned by networks, but instead are contracted to air programming from one of the major networks. While in fact there may be an affiliation agreement between a network
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the Tribune Company and, for a portion of The WB’s existence, ACME Communications. As Tribune owned a part of The WB, the stations it owned are considered to be owned & operated by The WB. A similar situation existed when the UPN network launched in 1995 by co-owners Chris-Craft and Viacom. Each of the companies owned a number of stations that aired the network. Although, ownership of some UPN O&O’s changed with Viacom’s buyout of Chris-Craft’s share of the network in 2000, which came not long after its merger with the previous CBS Corporation. The stations were referred to as UPN O&Os. (ChrisCraft later sold its stations to Fox.) Following the merger of the UPN and The WB networks, CBS Corporation (former owner of UPN) and Warner Bros. Entertainment became co-owners of the new CW Television Network. The network launched in September 2006 on most UPN stations owned by CBS Corporation, and most WB affiliates owned by Tribune (which exchanged its ownership of The WB for affiliation on most of its stations with the new CW network). Certain UPN/WB affiliates in markets with both Tribune and CBS ownership either picked up a MyNetworkTV affiliation or became independent stations. The standard definition of an O&O does apply to The CW, as far as the CBS-owned stations that carry the network are concerned. Some O&Os choose to refer to themselves as network-owned stations instead, reflecting the fact that while they may be owned by a national network, much of the actual operation is usually left to the discretion of the local station.
In Australia, Seven Network and Network Ten own and operate their stations in the five largest metropolitan areas (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide). These television markets together account for two thirds of the country’s population. In addition, Seven also owns and operates its local station in regional Queensland. Nine Network, on the other hand, has O&Os in three of the five metropolitan markets (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane), and two regional markets (Darwin and Newcastle). Other than the affiliate in central Australia (Imparja Television), the rest of Nine’s affiliates (including the stations in Perth and Adelaide) are owned by WIN Television. The two national public broadcasters, ABC and SBS, own and operate all of their local stations.
In Brazil, the major television networks (Globo, Record, SBT, Bandeirantes) own and operate their local stations in the two major cities: Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
In Canada, due to the population being concentrated to fewer urban centres (compared to the United States), as well as more lenient policies regarding media ownership (for example, an ownership cap on TV stations does not exist, except for within one media market), many television stations have become (or gone on air as) O&Os. The Global Television Network, for instance, currently consists solely of O&Os. (The only exception is CJON in St. John’s, which carries Global programming, although it is nominally an independent station.) CTV also owns and operates a majority of its local stations (most of which are located in major urban centres); the few remaining affiliates are located in smaller regional markets like Lloydminster and Thunder Bay. The CBC, with its role as the publicly-funded broadcaster, has at least one O&O in every single province and territory, although the three O&Os in the territories are operated collectively as CBC North. Although the majority of Canadians are served by CBC O&O stations, the CBC also has by far the
Distribution of O&Os
Seven’s O&Os have their master control operations centralised at the network’s facilities in Melbourne.
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most private affiliates of Canada’s three main English television networks. The French arm of the CBC, Télévision de Radio-Canada, is the only French-language network in Canada to have O&Os outside Quebec. It has an O&O in each province except the Atlantic provinces, where CBAFT (based in Moncton, New Brunswick) serves as the O&O for the entire region via relay transmitters. The territories receive programming from Radio-Canada via translators relaying Montreal-based CBFT. The other two French-language networks — TQS and TVA — only have O&Os (and, for that matter, affiliates) within Quebec. (Privately-owned Radio-Canada affiliates are only found within Quebec as well). Along with the major networks, some media conglomerates also run second-tier television systems (e.g. Canwest’s E! and CTVglobemedia’s A). These systems share the same parent companies as most of their local stations, and such stations can be considered O&Os as well. For example, all of A’s local stations are owned by CTVglobemedia. On the other hand, E! has added a few private affiliates not owned by Canwest in Western Canada since 2006.
Radiodifusión), a state controlled company to operate all radio and TV stations. However, private broadcasters still owned the broadcast stations. When satellite link was introduced in Peru in 1989, many affiliates had become repeaters of the main stations based in Lima.
In the Philippines, networks such as ABSCBN, NBN and RPN own and operate almost all of their local television stations, although a few affiliates also exist. As regional stations mostly rebroadcast/relay programmes from their parent network’s flagship station (usually based in Metro Manila), the terms network and station can be used interchangeably to refer to either one.
Further information: Owned-and-operated television stations in the United States In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) currently mandates that the total number of television stations owned by any company (including a television network) can only reach a maximum of 39.5% of the country. Given this restriction, television networks only have O&Os in a fraction of the 210 designated market areas around the country (the remainder of the markets are served by affiliates owned by other media companies). Periodically, networks may sell O&Os to comply with this FCC restriction. O&Os tend to be found in large urban centers like New York City and Los Angeles, although they have also been found in markets as small as Green Bay, Wisconsin (DMA #69, 2006-07) in the past.
Argentina’s public broadcaster Canal 7 owns and operates all of its stations. However, commercial broadcasters like Telefe and Canal 13 had affiliation agreements outside Buenos Aires.
Nowadays, the major television networks own and operate all of their stations. Channel 13 had an affiliate in northern Chile, Telenorte, which was dissafiliated from Channel 13 in 1989.
A network’s O&Os often share similar branding elements among themselves, reinforcing their common identity as stations owned by the same network. This kind of sharing may also present some savings to the parent network (ie. the owner), as its O&Os can use the same graphics and music rather than to each commission its own branding package. Examples include the circle 7 logo (originally designed in the early 1960s for ABC’s aforementioned O&Os, all of which broadcast on channel 7 at the time), the I Love Chicago
Unlike the United States, some Mexican television networks own and operate all of their stations. There’s no ownership cap. However, local broadcasters can broadcast programming that is broadcast in Mexico City stations.
In 1974, was created Telecentro, a division of ENRAD (Empresa Nacional de
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(Chicago My Home) musical signature for local newscasts (originally used by WBBMTV, later spread to other CBS O&Os), and the "CBS Mandate" (a set of branding guidelines currently used at several CBS O&Os). Fox also has a set of branding guidelines for both its O&Os and affiliates. Supposedly, NBC and ABC also have branding guidelines for its affiliates, but not as extreme as CBS or Fox. Networks in Canada took corporate branding to its logical conclusion; references to local callsigns and channel numbers have almost completely been eliminated from the O&Os (although some O&Os may occasionally refer to their channel numbers in passing) except during station sign-offs. Currently, other television station groups (e.g. Hearst-Argyle) also implement common branding packages among its stations (even when affiliated with different networks). Some of the branding elements originally found only at the O&Os are now used by regular affiliates as well (e.g. the aforementioned circle 7 logo, and use of the I Love Chicago theme music by some CBS affiliates that are not O&Os, such as KPHO). Nonetheless, such practices and elements can still be traced back to the O&Os, which represented the earliest television station groups under common ownership, before the emergence and proliferation of nationwide station ownership groups in the subsequent decades.
example, several local anchors at CTV’s O&Os have filled in for Lloyd Robertson in the past on the network’s national newscast; and weathercasters from CTV’s Toronto and Vancouver O&Os (CFTO and CIVT, respectively) present the weather segments on CTV Newsnet. A number of personalities at New York City radio and TV stations have also done assignments for both a station and a parent network at the same time, due to their proximity to network studios and offices. Parts of a network’s operations may also be co-located with one or more of its O&Os. For example, production of Global’s national newscast is controlled from its Vancouver O&O, while CTV’s network headquarters are co-located with CFTO at 9 Channel Nine Court in Scarborough, Ontario (the address refers to CFTO’s over-the-air channel number). NBC’s national network operations in both New York and Los Angeles are housed in the same facilities as their local stations WNBC-TV and KNBC-TV, respectively, and both of these O&O’s are considered flagship stations of the network.
UHF vs. VHF
In the early days of American television, it was not uncommon for a network to have at least one or two UHF O&Os. However, the FCC did not require new television sets to be equipped with UHF tuners until 1964. In such circumstances, the network typically underperformed in markets where it had UHF O&Os, and figured it was better to have its programming on a VHF station with an easily receivable signal, even if it was merely an affiliate. The network would sell or even shut down its UHF O&O once it had arranged an affiliation agreement with a VHF station in the same market. For example, in 1955, CBS bought UHF stations WGTH-TV channel 18 in Hartford and WOKY-TV channel 19 in Milwaukee, and changed their call letters to WHCT-TV and WXIX-TV respectively. However, CBS’ ratings were astonishingly low in those markets. In 1959, CBS decided to move its Hartford and Milwaukee affiliations to VHF stations WTICTV channel 3 (now WFSB) and WITI-TV channel 6 respectively, and sold off WHCT (now WUVN) and WXIX (now WVTV). (Ironically, CBS was sent back to the UHF dial in
Ties to the networks
Positions at network O&Os are frequently sought after by those who wish to eventually work for a television network. Indeed, many O&Os have served as a stepping stone for television personalities at their parent networks. For example, Matt Lauer and Al Roker worked for NBC’s flagship O&O in New York City, WNBC-TV, before becoming hosts on The Today Show; Roker had begun his career with NBC at former O&O WKYC-TV in Cleveland, which was known as a ’farm station’ which developed talent for the larger O&O stations and network. Whether or not one gets a job at a network obviously depends on one’s abilities, and working at an O&O does not guarantee a network job down the line; however, the presenter does potentially receive additional exposure to the network. Presenters at the O&Os also occasionally take on duties at the network level alongside their existing capacities at the local level. For
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Milwaukee following an affiliation switch in 1994, which saw WITI (Channel 6) becoming a Fox station. The CBS affiliation moved to WDJT-TV channel 58.) Similarly, NBC bought WBUF-TV channel 17 in Buffalo, New York in 1955 and WKNBTV channel 30 in Hartford in 1957, and changed WKNB’s call letters to WNBC-TV. (Present-day WNBC in New York City used the WRCA-TV calls until 1960.) The network wanted to see if a UHF station could effectively compete against VHF stations, and attempted to make the stations more competitive by investing in significant equipment upgrades. However, WBUF consistently ranked behind its VHF competitors, WGR-TV (now WGRZ-TV) and WBEN-TV (now WIVB-TV). Similarly, WNBC consistently rated behind VHF competitor WNHC-TV (now WTNH). WNBC faced an additional problem as its signal was not strong enough to cover New Haven and western Connecticut (nearly all of Connecticut is part of the Hartford market). By the time the FCC allocated additional VHF stations to Buffalo (WKBW-TV) and Hartford (WTIC-TV, now WFSB), NBC decided its experiment was a lost cause, and put WBUF and WNBC up for sale. While it found a buyer for WNBC (which managed to retain its NBC affiliation, unlike the CBS stations), there were no takers for WBUF, and it went off the air in 1958. NBC then affiliated with WGR-TV, where it remains to this day. NBC donated WBUF’s license and some of its equipment to PBS station WNED-TV, which took over the channel 17 frequency in 1959.
As many VHF stations in the United States were already affiliated with one of the Big 3 networks, the Fox network had little choice but to affiliate with UHF stations in most markets upon its launch in 1986. The network even had UHF O&Os in markets like Chicago (WFLD/32), Houston (KRIV/26) and Dallas (KDAF/33; now a CW station owned by the Tribune Company). However, by the time Fox acquired the rights to NFC football games in the early 1990s, it became convinced that the network would not be viable without more VHF affiliates. As such, in 1994, the network arranged a deal with New World Communications which saw nearly all New World stations (most of which were VHF stations) becoming Fox affiliates. Fox then bought out New World Communications in 1997, and those VHF stations (including one in Dallas) became Fox O&Os in the process. The network, however, did acquire more UHF O&Os in subsequent years, e.g. Philadelphia’s WTXF/29 (acquired in 1995) and Orlando’s WOFL/35 (acquired in 2002). As a result of the New World deal, CBS lost its longtime Detroit affiliate WJBK-TV channel 2 to Fox. CBS then unsuccessfully sought to affiliate with other stations in town before eventually deciding to purchase WGPR-TV channel 62, and changed the station’s calls to WWJ-TV in 1995. The station continues to receive low ratings, and after a brief attempt at running an 11pm newscast from 2001 to 2002, is currently the only CBS O&O without a local news presence. CBS also bought KEYE-TV channel 42 in Austin, Texas from Granite Broadcasting in 2000, five years after the station gained the CBS affiliation from KTBC channel 7, another former New World station which switched to Fox. NBC would not buy a UHF O&O again until 1995, when it acquired WNCN channel 17 in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. It subsequently repurchased channel 30 in Hartford, now WVIT, in 1996 and bought San Diego’s KNSD channel 39 in 1997. Currently, most American networks have at least one O&O on the UHF dial. Some, such as Univision and ION, even have mostly UHF O&Os.
1980s and beyond
With the spread of UHF tuners and (in particular) cable television, the technical problems which plagued early UHF television stations had largely disappeared by the 1980s. Despite that, in many television markets, UHF stations continued to carry a sort of stigma with them, and VHF stations continued to receive higher ratings, often simply by virtue of viewer loyalty. As such, the "Big 3" networks (ABC, NBC and CBS) were still not inclined to acquire UHF O&Os; however, ABC did keep Fresno’s KFSN channel 30 after merging with Capital Cities Communications, as KFSN was the highest-ranking station in a market where all full-power TV stations were on the UHF band.
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Ownership and network changes
In general, an O&O is very unlikely to experience changes in its ownership, since it is often a significant source of revenue for its owner; and since its owner is also its parent network, the chances for an O&O to ever switch networks are also rather low. However, in instances where the network finds an O&O no longer financially viable, it may choose to sell the station to a new owner (as was the case with the aforementioned early UHF O&Os). Even profitable O&Os might be sold off, often as a result (or in anticipation) of mergers and corporate deals. In addition, a network might decide to sell some of its O&Os and use the money raised to (at least temporarily) alleviate financial problems. Depending on the new owner, the station might continue to carry programming from the same network, affiliate with another network, or even become another network’s O&O. The following are examples of transactions involving O&Os:
"We can get rid of this baby!" CKVU-TV’s Joe Leary takes the Global mike flag off his microphone on the station’s last day as a Global O&O. not allow any single company to own more than two stations in a Canadian television DMA, so Global had to sell one of the stations. It opted to keep CHAN due to its higher ratings and network of rebroadcasters that reaches 97% of British Columbia. CKVU was eventually sold to CHUM Limited, and has since been re-branded as a Citytv station.
• STW-9 in Perth and QTQ-9 in Brisbane became Nine Network O&Os in 1987 when the stations’ parent company, Bond Media (headed by Alan Bond), purchased the network. After the collapse of Bond Media in the early 1990s, STW-9 was sold to Sunraysia Television (and remains as the Nine Network affiliate in Perth, currently under the ownership of WIN Television) while QTQ-9 remained a Nine O&O. • Perth’s NEW-10 went on the air in 1988 as a Network Ten O&O. However, the station was sold off the next year as the network faced financial problems. The network (under CanWest Global) re-acquired the station in 1995, and NEW-10 has remained a Ten O&O ever since.
Further information: Owned-and-operated television stations in the United States
• Owned-and-operated television stations in the United States • Concentration of media ownership
• 210 Designated Market Areas - Nielsen’s estimate of TV households in each market area in the United States, and associated rankings • The UHF Morgue • Television History Reference - Australian Television Archive
• Vancouver’s CKVU-TV was originally a Global O&O. However, in 2000, its parent company CanWest Global purchased the television stations from the WIC group, which included CHAN-TV in Vancouver and CHEK-TV in Victoria. The CRTC does
• ABC-owned Television Stations - List of ABC O&Os • CBS Television Stations Group - List of CBS and CW O&Os
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• NBC Universal: Company Overview - List of NBC and Telemundo O&Os • Fox Television Stations, Inc. - List of Fox and MyNetwork TV O&Os
• CTV.ca: Local Stations - List of CTV O&Os