A battle between NBC Universal, which owns Telemundo, and Spanish-language rival TV Azteca, took a bitter turn Thursday when NBCU filed a petition with the FCC to deny the license renewal of KAZA, a Los Angeles-area TV Azteca America affiliate.
The station is owned by Pappas Telecasting, but, the NBCU petition says, not really: Through a loan and other factors, NBCU says TV Azteca, the Mexican-owned parent of Azteca America, actually controls 51.6% of the station, far beyond the 33% investment threshold for foreign investors. Furthermore, NBCU claims TV Azteca clearly has operating control.
Though it’s that ownership question that might get the FCC’s initial attention, NBCU’s petition goes further than that, arguing that TV Azteca lacks “the character qualifications to own and operate a U.S. broadcast station.”
The filing claims that TV Azteca has ripped off shareholders with a “massive securities fraud,” that it arranged for an “armed raid” that stopped production of a Telemundo show in Mexico and filed “baseless criminal complaints” in Mexican courts against Telemundo and NBC’s parent, General Electric.