The operator of KMBH-TV in Harlingen, Texas, announced Tuesday that it will pursue a local management agreement (LMA) with a commercial entity as part of the station’s sale.
The PBS member station serves the Rio Grande Valley in the southern tip of the state.
The board of RGV Educational Broadcasting Inc., a nonprofit formed by the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville in 1983, oversees the station. Directors authorized Washington, D.C., attorney Larry Miller to petition the FCC to convert the station to a commercial broadcaster. Because the station does not operate on a channel reserved for noncommercial use, it is eligible for such a conversion, Miller told Current.
The board also approved an LMA between RGV and MBTV Texas Valley LLC. Local media has been unable to reach a spokesperson for that entity, and Miller said he has not been authorized to discuss the identity of the potential buyer. The LMA is contingent upon the conversion of the license to commercial status.
Diocese Bishop Daniel E. Flores said operating a television station for 30 years “is an expensive endeavor, and it is important to act prudently as we consider the best way to use our resources in a rapidly growing diocese.”
The board also noted that $789,776 in grants would be repaid to CPB upon transfer of the license.
The sale would not affect the status of KMBH-FM, a public radio station also operated by RGV Educational Broadcasting.
With a population of 1.6 million people the Rio Grande Valley is one of the poorest regions in the nation and one of the places most in need of public broadcasting. If this sale happens the RGV will be deprived of quality educational programming. This should not be allowed to happen. This is a public broadcasting crisis.