Owned-and-operated television stations in the United States

Owned-And-Operated Television Stations In The United States

Owned-and-operated television stations in the United States

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In the United States, owned-and-operated television stations (frequently abbreviated as O&Os) constitute only a portion of their parent television networks, due to an ownership limit imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Currently, the total number of television stations owned by any company (including a television network) can only reach a maximum of 39% of the country; in the past, the ownership limit was much lower.


At the dawn of the American TV industry, each company was only allowed to own a total of five television stations around the country. As such, when the networks launched their television operations, they found it more advantageous to put their five O&Os in large media markets having more households, hence higher revenue. They opted to run their programming on affiliates instead in other markets.

The five-station limit posed a problem for DuMont, the first attempt to operate a "fourth" television network. Paramount Pictures owned a share of the network, and also owned KTLA-TV in Los Angeles and WBKB (now WBBM-TV) in Chicago. Even though DuMont showed its programming on other stations in those cities, the FCC considered Paramount's stations to be DuMont O&Os and thus forbade it from acquiring any more stations. This was one of the factors leading to DuMont's shutdown in 1955.

For much of the era from the 1950s to 1986, the major...
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