Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Nexstar to Sell KFTA-TV, Channel 24

Arkansas Business.com reports Nexstar plans on selling KFTA-TV/Fort Smith to Mission Broadcasting Inc. of Becksville, Ohio, for $5.6 million. AB.com reports Mission plans on making the station a FOX affiliate.

AB.com provides the background of the station:

"KFTA was the Fort Smith half of the market’s KPOM/KFAA, Channels 24/51. When Nexstar purchased the station from JDG Television Inc. of Muskogee, Okla., in 2004, it changed the call letters to KFTA/KNWA. KWNA broadcasts out of Fayetteville, but KFTA carries the signal in Fort Smith."

Read the full article HERE.

27 Comments:

At 9:21 PM, April 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what will happen to KPBI-FOX 46? At least soon we will no longer have to watch that low-budget station for our FOX programming.

 
At 9:28 PM, April 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what will fort smith residents do about receiving nbc programming? please do not tell me that one of equity's stations will get nbc.

 
At 9:28 PM, April 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God... it's time to pull the plug on Fox 46....

 
At 9:37 PM, April 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is KFTA powerful enough to be carried on the Northwest Arkansas cable systems, and vice versa for KNWA??

So I am taking it KFTA will be the Fox affiliate for Benton and Washington Counties as well?

 
At 9:44 PM, April 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you read the news release on Nexstar's website it states that even though KFTA will be sold to Mission the station will still carry KNWA news programming at the 9 pm hour, providing the areas only prime time news. My question...if KFTA is a Fort Smith station and they are trying to sell it and do away with all of their Fort Smith ties, why would they do Northwest Arkansas News on a Fort Smith station that will not have a transmitter for Northwest Arkansas? Also, what is going to happen with the old building on Kelley Highway that KNWA still owns? It has been for sell forever. Are they still going to try to sell that or will Mission use it for something? To me it sounds as if KNWA will still have control of the station and Mission will just own it. Oh, also, the press release states that KNWA has renewed its contract with NBC until 2014. But who knows how anyone south of the tunnel will get the signal since KNWA barely reaches Fayetteville. Still a lot of unanswered questions. And back when KNWA tried to get rid of KFTA in 2003/2004 the FCC rejected it because they said that KNWA would not be profitable without a station in Fort Smith. What makes them think that the FCC will sign off on this? I don't think it will go through. I actually know it won't. If the FCC rejects you once three years ago, you cannot expect that in the short time since then that they will change their mind.

 
At 9:48 PM, April 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Channel 24's transmitter is located on a mountain between Mountainburg and Winslow. It won't be a crystal clear signal unless you have a good outdoor antenna pointed south from NWA. A clear cable signal will not be an issue though. It sounds like KNWA will stay as the NBC affilate for Fort Smith. Will this open up a startup NBC operation for the River Valley? It sounds like KFTA will indeed be the FOX affilate for Northwest Arkansas as well, though the newscasts will probably originate mostly from Fort Smith at the old KPOM building.

 
At 10:00 PM, April 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The news release says that KNWA will provide sales, news, and other non-programming support to the station. And it says that the news will be from KNWA alone. It says nothing of Mission opening up a Fort Smith newsroom to complement the KNWA News.

 
At 10:21 PM, April 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they're not starting NEWS in the River Valley, why do we care???

 
At 10:54 PM, April 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ummm, I don't see anything interesting on that blog that isn't already here.

Are you sure this isn't YOUR blog that you're trying to promote?

 
At 1:33 AM, April 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please read again. From what I see the statement is not clear on what and where the 9pm news will originate. I also asked around about earlier statement that they tried to sell the FS station before back in 03 or 04, there is no record of that. The whole thing is clear as mud but one thing is for sure 24 is a huge step up from 46. Will be neat to see what happens.

 
At 8:36 AM, April 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-04-4006A1.doc

this addresses some of the issues brought up by previous posts

 
At 8:37 AM, April 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DA 04-4006

Released: December 21, 2004


Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.

c/o Elizabeth Hammond, Esq.

Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

1500 K Street, N.W.

Suite 1100

Washington, DC 20005-1209

Re: Assignment of Licenses for

KFTA-TV, Fort Smith, AR

KNWA-TV, Rogers, AR

Facility ID Nos. 29560 & 29557

File Nos. BALCT-20031029ADF, BALCT-20031029ADG

Dear Ms. Hammond:

This is in reference to the applications to assign the licenses for KFTA-TV, Fort Smith Arkansas, and KNWA-TV, Rogers, Arkansas, from J.D.G. Television Inc. (“J.D.G.”) to Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. (“Nexstar”).1 As part of the assignment applications, Nexstar requests authorization to continue operating KNWA-TV as a satellite of KFTA-TV pursuant to Note 5 of Section 73.3555 of the Commission’s Rules.2 On December 3, 2003, Ft. Smith 46, Inc. (“Ft. Smith 46”), licensee of Fort Smith area low power and Class A television stations, filed a petition to dismiss or deny contending that the assignee fails to meet the requirements of the Commission’s three-pronged showing to allow it to operate KNWA-TV as a satellite of KFTA-TV. Consequently, the petitioner contends that the application must be dismissed or denied since the assignee’s ownership of two full power stations will not comply with the Commission’s local television duopoly rule.

Pursuant to the Commission's television satellite policy, as set forth in Television Satellite Stations, an applicant for satellite status is entitled to a presumption that the proposed satellite operation is in the public interest if it meets three criteria: (1) there is no City Grade overlap between the parent and the satellite; (2) the proposed satellite would provide service to an underserved area; and (3) no alternative operator is ready and able to construct or to purchase and operate the satellite as a full-service station.3 Applications meeting these criteria, when unrebutted, will be viewed favorably by the Commission. If an applicant cannot qualify for the presumption, the Commission will evaluate the proposal on an ad hoc basis, and grant the application if there are compelling circumstances that warrant approval.4

With respect to the first criterion, Nexstar originally reported the existence of slight City Grade overlap between KFTA-TV and KNWA-TV. Subsequently, however, Nexstar filed a minor change application to relocate KNWA-TV’s NTSC transmitter site to its DTV transmitter site. The application was granted to the current licensee, J.D.G., on October 19, 2004.5 Because this modification eliminated the City Grade overlap between the two stations, Nexstar’s continuing satellite request now meets the first criterion. Regarding the second criterion, Nexstar shows that its request meets the “transmission test”, as it is the only full-service television station licensed to Rogers, Arkansas.

With respect to the third criterion, an applicant must show that no alternative operator is ready and able to construct, or to purchase and operate, the proposed satellite as a full-service station.6 Nexstar includes a letter from Brian E. Cobb (“Cobb”), Founder and President of CobbCorp, LLC and a founder and former managing director of Media Venture Partners, both media brokerage and appraisal firms. Cobb states that if KNWA-TV were converted to a full service station, “it is highly probable that it would be financially unsuccessful and at a significant competitive disadvantage.” According to Cobb, coverage maps of the stations demonstrate that KNWA-TV’s Grade B signal does not reach Fort Smith, the key city in the Fort Smith DMA. Cobb opines that as a result of an insufficient signal in the Fort Smith DMA, KNWA-TV could not operate successfully as a stand-alone station. Cobb concludes that KNWA-TV should continue to operate as a satellite of a viable sister facility in order to survive and provide service to its communities.

Nexstar contends that although its request does not meet all three criteria for a presumptive continued satellite exception, many of the factors relevant to the Commission’s original grant of a satellite exception for KNWA-TV are applicable today.7 Nexstar argues that continued satellite operations are necessary to allow Nexstar to compete effectively with the other licensees in the Fort Smith DMA. Nexstar maintains that because of mountainous terrain KFTA-TV’s signal does not reach the Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale areas of the DMA, and that KNWA-TV’s satellite operations allow for the placement of a strong signal over these portions of the market. Nexstar also asserts that it is doubtful that the small population of Rogers would have an advertising revenue sufficient to support a stand-alone station. Nexstar adds that as a stand-alone station, KNWA-TV would experience substantial programming costs and that without a satellite waiver, KNWA-TV would be unable to compete effectively with other stations. Nexstar also argues that a grant of a continued satellite waiver for KNWA-TV would serve the public interest by facilitating each station’s conversion to full-power digital operations.

Petition. Ft. Smith 46 argues that, in light of the number of low power and television translator stations that provide service to Rogers, it cannot be considered an “underserved” area. Further, despite Cobb’s statement regarding the lack of an alternate operator, Ft. Smith 46 states that it is interested in purchasing KNWA-TV as a stand-alone station, if the price is reasonable. Adding that it has experience in the Rogers market as a consequence of its low power operations, Ft. Smith 46 disputes Cobb’s assertion that a full power station cannot operate effectively in the area.

In its opposition, responding to Ft. Smith 46’s statement that it would purchase KNWA-TV as a stand alone station, Nexstar argues that Ft. Smith 46 clearly would be acquiring the station as part of its already existing network of LPTV, TV translator and Class A stations in the market, not on a stand-alone basis. Moreover, Nexstar points out that Ft. Smith 46 provided no analysis as to how KFTA-TV can be operated as a stand-alone station. Nexstar also maintains that grant of the continuing satellite exception will have no effect on the market, but will preserve the status quo.

In reply, Ft. Smith 46 disagrees that granting the satellite exception will preserve the status quo, and argues that several changes have occurred in the Fort Smith DMA since the prior approval of satellite status for KNWA-TV. Specifically, it points out that new networks have been formed. Moreover, according to Ft. Smith 46, the population within KFTA-TV’s Grade B contour has increased to 508,129 persons, nearly 75% since 1988. Further, Ft. Smith 46 maintains that the Grade B overlap population between KFTA-TV and KNWA-TV has increased from 11,578 persons in 1989 to 232,989 persons. Ft Smith 46 also points out that the population of Rogers has increased from 17,429 in 1988 to 38,829. It contends that when the satellite waiver was initially requested, there was no independent full power television station licensed to a community within the Fort Smith DMA. Ft. Smith 46 points to station KSBN-TV, Springdale, Arkansas, which serves a smaller area than KNWA-TV, proving that stand alone operation is possible in the Fort Smith DMA.

With respect to KNWA-TV’s modification application, Ft. Smith 46 argues that the Commission has previously held that it will not consider applications to modify facilities for the purpose of avoiding overlap problems under the Commission’s multiple ownership rules.8 Ft. Smith 46 also maintains that its low power operations prove it has the track record and ability to operate KNWA-TV as a stand alone full power station.

On February 13, 2004, Nexstar filed a motion for leave to file and a supplement to its opposition, notifying the Commission of additional information related to its waiver request. Specifically, Nexstar maintains that the modification application was not filed in order to avoid overlap problems but rather to move KNWA-TV’s analog facilities to the tower from which KNWA-DT will operate. According to Nexstar, moving KNWA-TV’s analog facilities would reduce expenses through co-located operations of KNWA-TV and KNWA-DT. In response to Ft. Smith 46’s assertion that KSBN-TV operates as a stand alone station in the Fort Smith DMA, Nexstar argues that, as a religious broadcaster, KSBN-TV’s goals are not the same as other commercial broadcasters in the market. Specifically, Nexstar contends that KSBN-TV does not provide local news or other programming material specific to the Fort Smith DMA, and does not depend solely on commercial revenues to support its operation. Finally, Nexstar submits a further statement from Brian Cobb, who indicates that KFTA-TV would be “materially handicapped” in the absence of KNWA-TV supplementing coverage. Cobb also expresses doubt that KNWA-TV “could be profitable or provide news or other meaningful service to the community” if separated from KFTA-TV.

On February 27, 2004, Ft. Smith 46 opposed Nexstar’s supplement claiming that it should not be considered. Ft. Smith 46 argues that Cobb’s additional letter and the information concerning the operation of KSBN-TV were available to Nexstar when it filed its opposition. Further, Ft. Smith 46 avers that Cobb’s attempts to provide an assessment on the viability of KNWA-TV as a stand-alone station remain refuted by Ft. Smith 46’s willingness to buy KNWA-TV. Ft. Smith 46 includes a declaration stating that it is willing to buy and operate KNWA-TV as a stand-alone station for $2 million, or $8 million with the NBC affiliation. With respect to Nexstar’s argument that KSBN-TV does not depend solely on commercial revenues, Ft Smith 46 responds that KSBN-TV is a commercial station that competes with other stations in the market. Finally, with respect to KNWA-TV’s modification application, Ft. Smith 46 asserts that any benefits of collocation do not justify abandonment of the Commission’s principle of not granting a facilities modification for the purpose of compliance with the multiple ownership rules.

On July 8, 2004, the Video Division sent a letter of inquiry to Nexstar, requesting additional information to aid in determining whether grant of a continued satellite exemption would be in the public interest. In its July 28, 2004 response, Nexstar argues that the continued satellite exemption is justified because the Fort Smith DMA is a large geographic area and Fort Smith and Rogers are more than 65 miles apart. Nexstar repeats its claim that there are no network affiliations available in the DMA for KNWA-TV as a stand-alone station. While Nexstar concedes that the population of Rogers has grown, it maintains that the population remains insufficient to support a stand-alone TV station. With respect to whether the Rogers area is likely to have a sufficient advertising base to support KNWA-TV as a stand-alone station, Nexstar indicates that since October 2003 when it began programming KFTA-TV/KNWA-TV under a time brokerage agreement (“TBA”), it has received very few inquiries from northwest Arkansas area businesses seeking to advertise on KNWA-TV only. Nexstar states that, based on the revenues generated from Rogers area businesses, it estimates that such revenues will amount to $147,000 during the 2004 calendar year. Regarding separate statements of cash flow for KNWA-TV, Nexstar states that such statements are not available because J.D.G. did not keep separate records for the stations, nor does Nexstar under the TBA.

On August 11, 2004, Ft. Smith 46 filed comments. Ft. Smith 46 avers that Nexstar’s characterization of the Fort Smith DMA as a large geographic area is inconsistent with the approach it took in its initial filings. Moreover, Ft. Smith 46 contends that it is “disingenuous” for Nexstar to claim that its advertising revenue base would be limited to businesses in Rogers; it argues that the station serves other cities in the DMA with larger populations and businesses, including the corporate headquarters of Wal-Mart.

Discussion. Having failed to raise a substantial and material question of fact that grant of the subject applications would be inconsistent with the public interest, Ft. Smith 46’s petition will be denied.9 Regarding the first criterion, Nexstar has supplied an engineering exhibit demonstrating that, with KNWA-TV’s modified facilities, no City Grade overlap exists between KFTA-TV and KNWA-TV. Our engineering review confirms that no predicted overlap remains between the two stations. While Ft. Smith disputes Nexstar’s characterization of the extent of the overlap existing prior to the facilities modification, it fails to show any specific intent by Nexstar to misrepresent facts. Ft. Smith 46 additionally argues that the Commission has held that it will not entertain applications for modification of facilities that resolve multiple ownership situations. However, the Commission has held that grant of an application for modification of facilities is appropriate where grant of the application would not result in the loss of service to existing viewers.10 Although the engineering exhibit shows a loss of service resulting from the KNWA-TV modification, we note that all persons losing service from KNWA-TV will continue to receive NBC service from one other NBC affiliate, the parent, KFTA-TV. Moreover, we note that the modification application was filed to move KNWA-TV’s analog facilities to the tower from which KNWA-DT’s digital facility will operate, for the purpose of reducing expenses through co-located operations. The Commission has specifically encouraged the co-location of analog and digital facilities in order to enhance and accelerate the transition to digital television. Therefore, we reject Ft. Smith 46’s argument regarding the first criterion.



For the purposes of the second criterion, an area is deemed underserved if, under the “transmission test,” there are two or fewer full-service television stations already licensed to the proposed satellite community of license, or, under the “reception test,” 25 percent or more of the area within the proposed satellite’s Grade B contour, but outside the parent’s Grade B contour, receives four or fewer television services, not including the proposed satellite service.11 Here, we agree with Nexstar that KNWA-TV meets the second presumptive criterion, as it is the only station licensed to Rogers. We are not persuaded by Ft. Smith 46’s arguments that because a number of low power stations provide service, Rogers is not an underserved area. As stated above, the Commission considers an area underserved if an applicant demonstrates that it meets the requirements of the “transmission test” or the “reception test". Nexstar meets the transmission test notwithstanding the fact that low power stations operate in the area. Having adopted the presumptive satellite test in a rulemaking proceeding, the Commission is not required to reexamine and justify its requirements in each case. Petitioner’s arguments, which are more akin to an argument against the test itself, do not persuade us to depart from the Commission’s standard.

With respect to the third criterion, an applicant must show that no alternative operator is ready and able to construct, or to purchase and operate, the proposed satellite as a full-service station.12 While we do not find that Nexstar’s request meets the third criterion, we believe that its overall showing is sufficient to justify operation under our ad hoc analysis.13 Specifically, as explained above, Nexstar submits letters from Cobb indicating that if KNWA-TV were converted to a full service station, it would likely be financially unsuccessful. Cobb indicates that due to an insufficient signal in the Fort Smith DMA, KNWA-TV could not operate successfully as a stand-alone station. Moreover, Nexstar contends that Rogers’ small population is unlikely to provide a sufficient advertising revenue base to support a stand-alone station. Nexstar also points out that KNWA-TV would experience substantial programming costs as a stand-alone station.

Finally, although Ft. Smith 46 states that it is ready and able to purchase KNWA-TV as a stand-alone station, it does not provide any persuasive economic data to refute Cobb’s analysis. In any event, we do not consider Ft. Smith 46’s self-serving offer to buy the station, since it is not a qualified buyer itself. On October 15, 2004, its commonly-owned affiliate acquired full service station KWBM (TV), Harrison, Arkansas, located in the Fort Smith DMA.

Ft. Smith 46 argues that the population of Rogers has increased and that in addition to providing service to Rogers, KNWA-TV provides service to Fayetteville, Springdale, and Bentonville. However, we do not believe that these factors alone establish that the Rogers area would be able to support a stand-alone station. Moreover, Ft. Smith 46 does not provide data to support its statement that Rogers and the surrounding area have a sufficient advertising revenue base to support a stand-alone station. Finally, we do not agree that Nexstar’s supplement raises doubts as to the representations it has made in this proceeding. Given the facts presented in this case, including Cobb’s statement that it is unlikely that KNWA-TV would be financially successful and that KNWA-TV would be at a competitive disadvantage as a full service station, we believe that approval of Nexstar’s request for continuing satellite status is warranted and would serve the public interest. 14

Having found the applicants fully qualified, we conclude that grant of the subject applications would serve the public interest. Accordingly, the petition to dismiss or deny filed by Ft. Smith 46, Inc. IS DENIED, and Nexstar Finance, L.L.C.’s request for continued authorization to operate KNWA-TV, Rogers, Arkansas as a satellite of KFTA-TV, Fort Smith, Arkansas IS GRANTED.

Further, the applications for consent to assignment of licenses of KFTA-TV, (File No. BALCT-20031029ADF) Fort Smith, Arkansas, and KNWA-TV (File No. BALCT-20031029ADG), Rogers, Arkansas, ARE GRANTED.





Sincerely,



Barbara A. Kreisman

Chief, Video Division

Media Bureau



cc: Marvin Rosenberg, Esq. – Counsel for J.D.G. Television, Inc.

Peter Tannenwald, Esq. – Counsel for Ft. Smith 46, Inc.

 
At 12:37 PM, April 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the boring lawyer talk to it looks to me that the Fox station new this was going to happen and was trying all they could to stop it. They can't keep a good product on air now so you can't make me believe they ever had a serious thought about baying the Ft. Smith station from Nexstar. Now let's see what happens. Should be entertaining however it all shakes out.

 
At 1:30 PM, April 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is interesting about all the "boring lawyer talk" is that Nexstar less than 2 years ago told the FCC that KNWA could not survive without KFTA. The FCC agreed.

Now they have to convince the FCC that they were either a) wrong or b) lying.

Should be fun.

 
At 2:59 PM, April 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anybody know anything about Mission Broadcasting? Googling the company, I've not been able to find a corporate Web site. I have found several articles that lead me to believe KFTA will run lots of religious programming when Mission takes over.

 
At 4:43 PM, April 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mission is an "undercover" partner of Nexstar.

 
At 5:43 PM, April 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, I believe that Griffin still owns the building in Ft. Smith, but Deathstar rents the building from Griffin because of FCC rules/public file. Also, this sell may work because Deathstar will get money from KFTA which will support their fight a few years ago. I have been told that the newscast will start in August in NWA, but no meetings have been held with the staff about content/set and how long of a newscast (30 minutes/1 hour).

 
At 12:51 AM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mission is a shell company for Nexstar. KODE Joplin, MO (ABC) and KOLR Springfield, MO (CBS) are owned by Mission, but are de facto Nexstar Stations.

 
At 12:50 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nexstar Lied.....and Mission is a shell company that Duane Lammers runs for Shook....When will these crooks get caught?

 
At 9:25 AM, April 26, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Channel 24 does have a decent signal in Washington County. I'm sure Benton County cable systems can pick them up with their high-powered receivers. Truth be told, what happens with 24 with regards to news is irrelevant to the general public. KFSM dominates the River Valley and always will. 40 gets what's left...and few will notice anything 24 does with regards to local news.

 
At 10:52 AM, May 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is how it works in the Springfield, MO market:
http://www.kolr10.com/ Mission
http://www.fox27.com/ Nexstar

 
At 11:25 PM, May 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back when KLMN-TV 24 (then KPOM-TV, now KFTA-TV) signed on as a CBS affiliate (it switched to NBC in 1981) in the spring of 1979, we in Rogers could receive it on our local cable system (and very weakly with rabbit ears). Because of this, I felt that JDG was wasting money in 1989 using channel 51 to duplicate 24's signal. If channel 51 had signed on with Fox, JDG might have had TWO channels on northwest Arkansas cable systems. We should have no problem getting Fox on 24 if the cable company pays attention to the change and is ready to restore 24 to its lineup. Would you believe in both cases the cable company in Rogers took SIX YEARS each to add Fox (1986 - 1992)and UPN (1995 - 2001) stations?

 
At 3:42 PM, April 29, 2007, Blogger Stanley said...

I am sooo frustrated with 24's loss of audio during the Nascar racing that I could care less if the entire station fails.
I receive this thru my Dish program as a 'LOCAL' channel while living in Talihina, Oklahoma.
This is not the first, second or third time this has happened. If the facility is no better than this, it is not worth keeping.

 
At 7:12 AM, May 16, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why can't you stay on the air or keep your audio? It's become so frequent that I've started watching other local channels. I'd prefer to watch Fox. If these PROBLEMS don't stop, I won't bother to watch you again.

 
At 1:45 PM, February 04, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your channel sucks real bad your management needs to be looking for work else where cause they are not preforming here to screwup broadcasting during something as important as the superbowl is insane if i were your sponcers i would be gone .

 
At 2:49 PM, March 02, 2008, Blogger JAH said...

This channel is the worst I've ever experienced. The volume changes between commercials is almost damaging sometimes. I missed several NASCAR events last season, half of the 2008 Superbowl, and just lost about 5 min's of today's race. Reminds me of Donray Cable many years ago. I sure miss the Chicago locals the congress used to let me purchase.

 
At 8:10 PM, March 02, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

KFTA-TV Channel 24 is the worst TV station that I have ever watched. It has been off the air since 3pm & still off at 8pm.(except for about 10 mins)AND FOX24 has had problems for over a year! WHY can't it be fixed!! I have called FOX24 a couple of times, left messages but I never got a response back! I called DirctTV and they said it wasn't their problem.!

 

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