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New owners will control content, but format, staffing, building's ownership will remain the same

Santa Rosa TV station KFTY is being sold to an Oklahoma broadcasting company, but viewers won't see any change, station officials said Thursday.

"It's going to be business as usual," said John Burgess, general manager at the station.

High Plains Broadcasting will pay $1 million for KFTY's broadcast license, according to a sale agreement filed with the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC is expected to approve the deal in a few months.

Under its terms, KFTY's current owner, Newport Television, will continue to operate the station and retain ownership of KFTY's studio on Mendocino Avenue in downtown Santa Rosa.

High Plains will control the station's content and pay Newport to manage it, said John Grossi, a vice president at Newport, which is based in Kansas City, Mo.

"High Plains told us they have no plan to change the format," said Grossi.

James Martin, president of High Plains, could not be reached for comment Thursday. Based in Kaw City, Okla., High Plains owns 16 stations in California, Utah, Wyoming, Texas and Florida.

KFTY's 17 to 19 employees will keep their jobs, Burgess said. Most will continue to work for Newport, but several will become employees of High Plains, he said.

It's the second time since 2007 that Newport has had a deal to sell KFTY. Previously, Newport applied to the FCC to sell the station to Florida-based LK Station Group, and the deal was set to close last year.

But LK, which operates Spanish-language stations in several western states, couldn't obtain financing and the sale fell apart, according to Newport.


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