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-TV), 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 owned-and-operated station’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 that is owned and operated by the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) 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 the network’s programming is correctly referred to as an «ABC affiliate»; that is, the station is affiliated with ABC.
However, informally or for promotional purposs, affiliated stations (or non-O&Os) are sometimes referred to as a network station, as in «WFAA is an ABC station» even though that ABC affiliate, in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, is owned by Tegna, Inc. A correct formal phrasing could be, «ABC affiliate WFAA is a Tegna 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 companies that operate a network, but air another network’s programming are referred to as an affiliate of the network that they carry. For example, WBFS-TV in Miami is owned by the CBS network’s parent company CBS Corporation, but airs programming from MyNetworkTV; it is a MyNetworkTV affiliate. Prior to the September 2006 shutdown of the CBS-owned UPN television network, WBFS aired that network’s programming; therefore, WBFS was a UPN O&O.
The stations carrying The WB Television Network were another exception. The controlling shares in the network were held by Time Warner, with minority interests from the Tribune Company and, for a portion of network’s existence, the now-defunct ACME Communications. While Tribune-owned stations such as WGN-TV in Chicago, WPIX in New York City and KTLA in Los Angeles (along with most of the ACME stations) aired programming from The WB, they did not fit the standard definition of an owned-and-operated station. A similar exception existed when UPN launched in January 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 Television Stations, the subsidiary of the then News Corporation that primarily operates Fox’s O&Os, in 2000