Record 166 broadcast stations sold

The sales of 166 radio and TV stations were approved last Friday by the Federal Communications Commission -- just in time for sellers to qualify for favorable year-end tax treatment of their profits. It was the largest number of transfers approved on any one day, said FCC spokeswoman Maureen Peratino.

A sale completed after the first of the year will fall under the revised tax law, which taxes at a higher percentage any profits from the sale of an investment property. The FCC was flooded with applications as the deadline neared and staff worked overtime to get the paperwork in order.

Normally, routine transfer applications are approved by the staff after a 30-day comment period and do not go to the full five-member commission unless there is a serious question raised.

In this case, the full commission reviewed and voted to approve all uncontested applications, to lessen the chances that someone could come in with a frivolous complaint and delay consumation of the sale.

If there are remaining objections to any of the transfers, the full commission could be asked to reconsider or the matter could be appealed to federal court within 30 days.

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