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New bidders on horizon for WQEX

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Two new bidders have emerged in WQED's nearly seven-year effort to sell WQEX. They could be weighed at a special board of directors meeting, still to be scheduled for the new year.

WQED President George Miles was out of town yesterday, but station executive B.J. Leber confirmed WQED has two offers for Channel 16. She said she did not know who the bidders were, the terms of the proposals or when a board meeting -- likely to be closed to the press and public -- would be called. The next regularly scheduled meeting is at noon Jan. 23.

The public television station received permission from the FCC in October to convert Channel 16's license from non-commercial/educational to commercial, but a deal with Diane Sutter's Shooting Star Broadcasting fell apart.

WQED rejected her attempt to modify terms of the sale. Although the total cost would have remained at $20 million, she asked to change the ratio of cash to promissory notes. WQED, unwilling to reduce the amount of cash at closing, said no.

It may be to WQED's advantage to wait until the new year because the FCC is expected to raise the cap on the percentage of stations one company can own.

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