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In the broadcasting industry (especially in North America), an owned-and-operated station (frequently abbreviated as O&O) usually refers to a television station or radio station that is owned by the network with which it is associated. This distinguishes such a station from an affiliate, whose ownership lies elsewhere other than the network it is linked to.

For example: in the Bostonmarker television market, CBS Corporation-owned WBZ-TVmarker carries CBS programming, while News Corporation-owned WFXT-TVmarker carries programming from Fox, another News Corporation subsidiary. Therefore, both WBZ and WFXT are considered owned-and-operated stations. On the other hand, WCVB-TVmarker and WHDH-TVmarker carry ABC and NBC programming respectively, but neither shares ownership ties with its parent network. As such, these two stations are considered affiliates.

The concept of O&O is more clearly defined in North America (and to some extent, several other countries such as Australia and Brazilmarker), where network-owned stations had historically been the exception rather than the rule. In such places, broadcasting licenses are generally issued on a local (rather than national) basis, and there is (or was) some sort of regulatory mechanism in place to prevent any company (including a broadcasting network) from owning stations in every market in the country. In other parts of the world, many television networks were given national broadcasting licenses at launch; as such, they have traditionally been mostly (or entirely) composed of O&Os, rendering a separate notion for such a concept redundant.

Usage of the term

In the broadcasting industry, the term owned-and-operated station refers exclusively to stations that are owned by television and radio networks. On the other hand, the term affiliate only applies to stations that are not owned by networks, but instead are contracted to air programming from one of the major networks. While in fact there may be an affiliation agreement between a network and an owned-and-operated station (as suggested under "Ownership Info" on the FCC TV Query search for WABC-TVmarker), this is not necessarily required, and may simply be a legal technicality formalizing the relationship of separate entities under the same parent company. In any event, this does not prevent a network from effectively dictating an O&O's practices outside the scope of a normal affiliation agreement; for instance, network programming is very rarely preempted by O&Os, despite individual affiliates' rights to do so.

The term station correctly applies to the ownership of the station. For example, a station owned and operated by the ABC network is referred to as an ABC station or an ABC O&O, but normally should not be referred to as an affiliate. Likewise, a station not owned by ABC but contracted to air ABC’s programming is correctly referred to as an ABC affiliate; that is, the station is affiliated with ABC.

However, informally or for promotional purposes, affiliated stations (or non-O&Os) are sometimes referred to as a network station, as in WJLAmarker is an ABC station” even though that ABC affiliate is owned by Allbritton Communications Company. Correct formal phrasing could be, "ABC affiliate WJLA is an Allbritton station." Similarly, one may informally refer to "ABC affiliates" in regards to all stations (including O&Os) that air ABC programming, or to "the ABC affiliation" in regards to the transfer of rights to ABC programming from an affiliate to an O&O.

Some stations that are owned by networks but air another network’s programming are referred to as an affiliate of the network they air. For example, WBFSmarker in Miamimarker is owned by the CBS network's parent company but airs programming from MyNetworkTV; it is a MyNetworkTV affiliate. Prior to the Fall 2006 shutdown of the CBS-owned UPN television network, WBFS aired that network's programming; therefore, WBFS was a UPN O&O.

The stations airing The WB television network were another exception. The ownership of The WB was shared between Warner Bros. (a subsidiary of Time Warner), the Tribune Company and, for a portion of The WB's existence, ACME Communications. While Tribune-owned stations such as WGN-TVmarker Chicagomarker, WPIX-TVmarker New Yorkmarker and KTLA-TVmarker Los Angelesmarker aired programming from The WB, they did not fit the standard definition of an O&O; they were nonetheless often referred to as WB O&Os. A similar exception existed when the UPN network launched in 1995 by co-owners Chris-Craft and Viacom. Each of the companies owned a number of stations that aired the network. However, the stations were also not considered O&Os under the initial standard definition. This ambiguity ended with Viacom's buyout of Chris-Craft's share of the network in 2000, which came not long after its merger with the previous CBS Corporation. The stations were referred to informally as UPN O&Os. (Chris-Craft later sold its stations to Fox.)

Following the merger of the UPN and The WB networks, CBS Corporation (former owner of UPN) and Warner Bros. Entertainment became co-owners of the new CW Television Network. The network launched in September 2006 on most UPN stations owned by CBS Corporation, and most WB affiliates owned by Tribune (which exchanged its ownership of The WB for affiliation on most of its stations with the new CW network). Certain UPN/WB affiliates in markets with both Tribune and CBS ownership either picked up a MyNetworkTV affiliation or became independent stations. The standard definition of an O&O again does not apply to The CW, but the CBS-owned stations that carry the network may be referred to as CW O&Os.

Some O&Os choose to refer to themselves as network-owned stations instead, reflecting the fact that while they may be owned by a national network, much of the actual operation is usually left to the discretion of the local station.

Distribution of O&Os



In Australia, Seven Network and Network Ten own and operate their stations in the five largest metropolitan areas (Sydneymarker, Melbournemarker, Brisbanemarker, Perthmarker and Adelaidemarker). These television markets together account for two thirds of the country's population.[172990] In addition, Seven also owns and operates its local station in regional Queenslandmarker.

Nine Network, on the other hand, has O&Os in three of the five metropolitan markets (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane), and two regional markets (Darwinmarker and Newcastlemarker). Other than the affiliate in central Australia (Imparja Television), the rest of Nine's affiliates (including the stations in Perth and Adelaide) are owned by WIN Television.

The two national public broadcasters, ABCmarker and SBS, own and operate all of their local stations.


In the Philippinesmarker, networks such as ABS-CBN, NBN and RPN own and operate almost all of their local television stations, although a few affiliates also exist. As regional stations mostly rebroadcast/relay programmes from their parent network's flagship station (usually based in Metro Manilamarker), the terms network, station and channel can in practice be used interchangeably to refer to either one. In addition, networks are often informally referred to by their flagship stations' broadcast channel numbers; for example, ABS-CBN is referred to as "Channel 2" or "Dos" for its Manila O&O DWWX-TVmarker.

Latin America


Argentinamarker's public broadcaster Canal 7 owns and operates all of its stations. However, commercial broadcasters like Telefe and Canal 13 has private affiliates outside Buenos Airesmarker.


In Brazilmarker, the major television networks (Globo, Record, SBT, Bandeirantes) own and operate their local stations in the two major cities: Rio de Janeiromarker and São Paulomarker. Other markets such as Brasiliamarker and Belo Horizontemarker also have O&Os from one or more networks.


The major Chilean television networks currently own and operate all of their stations. Channel 13 had an affiliate in northern Chile, Telenorte, until it disaffiliated from Channel 13 in 1989.


Due to the lack of an ownership cap in Mexicomarker, some Mexican television networks own and operate all of their stations. However, there still exist privately-owned local stations which broadcast programming originating from the Mexico Citymarker stations.


In 1974, Telecentro was created as a division of ENRAD (Empresa Nacional de Radiodifusión), a state controlled company to operate all radio and TV stations. However, private broadcasters still owned the broadcast stations. When satellite link was introduced in Peru in 1989, many affiliates had become repeaters of the main stations based in Lima.

North America


In Canadamarker, due to the population being concentrated to fewer urban centres (compared to the United States), as well as more lenient policies regarding media ownership (for example, an ownership cap on TV stations does not exist, except for within one media market), many television stations have become (or gone on air as) O&Os. The Global Television Network, for instance, currently consists solely of O&Os. (The only exception is CJONmarker in St. John’smarker, which carries Global programming, although it is nominally an independent station.)

CTV also owns and operates a majority of its local stations (most of which are located in major urban centres); the few remaining affiliates are located in smaller regional markets like Lloydminstermarker and Thunder Baymarker.

The CBC, with its role as the publicly-funded broadcaster, has at least one O&O in every single province and territory, although the three O&Os in the territories are operated collectively as CBC North. While the majority of Canadians are served by CBC O&Os, the CBC also has by far the most private affiliates of Canada's three main English television networks.

The French arm of the CBC, Télévision de Radio-Canada, is the only French-language network in Canada to have O&Os outside Quebecmarker. It has an O&O in each province except the Atlantic provincesmarker, where CBAFTmarker (based in Monctonmarker, New Brunswickmarker) serves the entire region via relay transmitters. The territories receive programming from Radio-Canada via translators relaying Montrealmarker-based CBFTmarker.

The other two French-language networks — V and TVA — only have O&Os (and, for that matter, affiliates) within Quebec. (Privately-owned Radio-Canada affiliates are only found within Quebec as well).

Along with the major networks, some media conglomerates also run second-tier television systems (e.g. Canwest's E! and CTVglobemedia's A). These systems share the same parent companies as most of their local stations, and such stations can be considered O&Os as well. For example, all of A's local stations are owned by CTVglobemedia. On the other hand, E! added a few private affiliates not owned by Canwest in Western Canada prior to its demise in 2009.

United States

In the United Statesmarker, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) currently mandates that the total number of television stations owned by any company (including a television network) can only reach a maximum of 39% of the country. Given this restriction, television networks only have O&Os in a fraction of the 210 designated market areas around the country (the remainder of the markets are served by affiliates owned by other media companies). Periodically, networks may sell O&Os to comply with this FCC restriction.

O&Os tend to be found in large urban centers like New York Citymarker, Los Angelesmarker and Chicagomarker, although they have also been found in markets as small as Green Bay, Wisconsinmarker (DMA #69, 2006-07) in the past.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdommarker, ITV plc owns and operates many of the former independent ITV franchises across the United Kingdom. Currently they own-and-operate all of the franchises in Englandmarker and Walesmarker. The ITV franchises in Scotlandmarker, Northern Irelandmarker and the Channel Islands are not owned-and-operated by ITV plc.


A network’s O&Os often share similar branding elements among themselves, reinforcing their common identity as stations owned by the same network. This kind of sharing may also present some savings to the parent network (ie. the owner), as its O&Os can use the same graphics and music rather than to each commission its own branding package. Examples include the circle 7 logo (originally designed in the early 1960s for ABC’s aforementioned O&Os, all of which broadcast on channel 7 at the time), the I Love Chicago (Chicago My Home) musical signature for local newscasts (originally used by WBBM-TVmarker, later spread to other CBS O&Os), and the "CBS Mandate" (a set of branding guidelines currently used at several CBS O&Os). Fox also has a set of branding guidelines for both its O&Os and affiliates. Supposedly, NBC and ABC also have branding guidelines for its affiliates, but not as extreme as CBS or Fox.

Networks in Canada took corporate branding to its logical conclusion; references to local callsigns and channel numbers have almost completely been eliminated from the O&Os except during station sign-on and sign-off sequences (although some O&Os may occasionally refer to their channel numbers in passing).

Currently, other television station groups (e.g. Hearst-Argyle) also implement common branding packages among its stations (even when affiliated with different networks). Some of the branding elements originally found only at the O&Os are now used by regular affiliates as well (e.g. the aforementioned circle 7 logo, and use of the I Love Chicago theme music by some CBS affiliates that are not O&Os, such as KPHOmarker). Nonetheless, such practices and elements can still be traced back to the O&Os, which represented the earliest television station groups under common ownership, before the emergence and proliferation of nationwide station ownership groups in the subsequent decades.

Ties to the networks

Positions at network O&Os are frequently sought after by those who wish to eventually work for a television network. Indeed, many O&Os have served as a stepping stone for television personalities at their parent networks. For example, Matt Lauer and Al Roker worked for NBC's flagship O&O in New York City, WNBC-TVmarker, before becoming hosts on The Today Show; Roker had begun his career with NBC at former O&O WKYC-TVmarker in Clevelandmarker, known as a 'farm station' which developed talent for the larger O&O stations and network. Whether or not one gets a job at a network obviously depends on one's abilities, and working at an O&O does not guarantee a network job down the line; however, the presenter does potentially receive additional exposure to the network.

Presenters at the O&Os also occasionally take on duties at the network level alongside their existing capacities at the local level. For example, several local anchors at CTV's O&Os have filled in for Lloyd Robertson in the past on the network's national newscast; and weathercasters from CTV's Torontomarker and Vancouvermarker O&Os (CFTOmarker and CIVTmarker, respectively) present the weather segments on CTV News Channel. A number of personalities at New York City radio and TV stations have also done assignments for both a station and a parent network at the same time, due to their proximity to network studios and offices.

Parts of a network's operations may also be co-located with one or more of its O&Os. For example, production of Global's national newscast is controlled from its Vancouver O&Omarker, while CTV's network headquarters are co-located with CFTO at 9 Channel Nine Courtmarker in Scarborough, Ontariomarker (the address refers to CFTO's over-the-air channel number). NBC's national network operations in both New York and Los Angeles are housed in the same facilities as their local stations WNBC-TV and KNBC-TVmarker, respectively, and both of these O&Os are considered flagship stations of the network.

Ownership and network changes

In general, an O&O is very unlikely to experience changes in its ownership, since it is often a significant source of revenue for its owner; and since its owner is also its parent network, the chances for an O&O to ever switch networks are also rather low.

However, in instances where the network finds an O&O no longer financially viable, it may choose to sell the station to a new owner or simply close the station. Even profitable O&Os might be sold off, often as a result (or in anticipation) of mergers and corporate deals, especially ones which put the network over the ownership limit in its local jurisdiction (e.g. the aforementioned 39% ownership cap in the United States imposed by the FCC). In addition, a network might decide to sell some of its O&Os and use the money raised to (at least temporarily) alleviate financial problems. Depending on the new owner, the station might continue to carry programming from the same network, affiliate with another network, or even become another network's O&O.

The following are examples of transactions involving O&Os:


  • Perth's NEW-10marker went on the air in 1988 as a Network Ten O&O. However, the station was sold off the next year as the network faced financial problems. The network (under CanWest Global) re-acquired the station in 1995, and NEW-10 has remained a Ten O&O ever since.


  • With regards to its E! television system, Canwest stated in 2009 that "a second conventional TV network [was] no longer key to the long-term success" of the company, and the five E! O&Os subsequently faced various outcomes: CHCH-TVmarker Hamiltonmarker and CJNT-TVmarker Montrealmarker were sold to Channel Zero to be operated as independent stations; CHBC-TVmarker Kelownamarker became a Global O&O; CHCA-TVmarker Red Deermarker closed down on August 31, 2009; and CHEK-TVmarker Victoriamarker was sold to a consortium of station employees and local investors for $2 (pending CRTC approval) and has since been operated as an independent station.

United States

See also


  1. FCC's Review of the Broadcast Ownership Rules. Accessed online May 28, 2009.
  2. [1], Wikipedia article about Fox station branding.
  3. Matt Lauer, Accessed online May 28, 2009.
  4. Al Roker, Accessed online May 28, 2009.
  5. Nine Network - Australian Television Archive
  6. STW9 Perth - Australian Television Archive
  7. NEW10 Perth - Australian Television Archive
  8. Canwest announces strategic review of five conventional television stations , press release, February 5, 2009
  9. Canwest considers possible sale of 5 TV stations across Canada, The Canadian Press via Google News, February 5, 2009
  10. Channel Zero Inc. agrees to purchase CHCH-TV Hamilton and CJNT-TV Montreal from Canwest CNW Group (2009-06-30)
  11. Red Deer's CHCA signing off, Jack Wilson, Red Deer Advocate, August 28, 2009. Accessed online September 1, 2009.
  12. Employees buy CanWest TV station in Victoria for $2, Grant Robertson, The Globe and Mail, September 4, 2009. Accessed online September 19, 2009.

External links

United States

United Kingdom

  • ITV - Home of ITV and the ITV O&Os


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