Gray TV, the station group that bought Augusta, Ga., NBC affiliate WAGT, but only operated it for 10 days was granted a stay by the Georgia Supreme Court today.
“After consideration of the present ‘Emergency Motion for Expedited Review and for Stay of Injunction Pending Appeal,'” reads the court order. “a stay, pending appeal, of the preliminary injunction is hereby granted, but expedited determination of an appeal of the preliminary injunction is hereby denied.”
This means Gray will be allowed to operate the station Media General says it should operate because of a contract it signed with WAGT’s former owner Schurz Communications. However, the denial of the expedited determination of the appeal may mean a hearing on the matter may not happen before the spectrum auction begins.
“We are grateful to the Supreme Court of Georgia for its very quick decision on our emergency motion staying the injunction on Gray’s ability to operate WAGT,” a Gray TV spokesman told TVSpy. “We look forward to operating WAGT in the manner required by the FCC and in service to the greater Augusta community.”
Gray also told us it was “working through that question” of when it would take operation of WAGT back from Media General.
A Superior Court judge issued the injunction ten days after the FCC approved the sale of WAGT on February 16, stopping Gray’s operation of the station. This allowed Media General to start operating the station until the case was heard. Gray filed an emergency motion with the Supreme Court.
“Gray Television, which owns Augusta television station WRDW, maintains that the contract ended when it completed its FCC-approved acquisition of Schurz Communications’ 24 stations this year for $442.5 million,” reports the Augusta Chronicle. “Media General, which owns Augusta television station WJBF, maintains that the joint sales agreement is still in effect.”