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FCC Approves Sinclair’s Allbritton Buy

sinclair_304The FCC has approved Sinclair Broadcast Group’s purchase of Allbritton Communications.

The sixteen page document released by the FCC also denied several petitions against the merger.

>UPDATE: William Lake, chief of the FCC Media Bureau released a statement outlining the terms of the deal. Which he wrote was approved “after the parties agreed to amend the proposal in three markets to comply with our ownership rules:

Consistent with DOJ review, Sinclair will divest the station in the Harrisburg market.

To comply with our local TV ownership rule, Sinclair will deliver the programming of stations in the Birmingham and Charleston markets via digital multicasting. This means that Sinclair will put the full programming of the stations on the digital signal of the stations it already owns. The licenses of the Allbritton stations that previously broadcast that programming will therefore be returned to the Commission. Most importantly, consumers will lose no programming currently available to them. Read more

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Sinclair Announces Funding for Allbritton Purchase

sinclair_allbrittonSinclair Broadcast Group announced it has lined up the funding to buy Allbritton Communications.

In a press release, the station group announced Sinclair Television Group, a subsidiary, has closed its private offering of $550 million worth of senior unsecured notes due in 2024. Sinclair said it plans to use the money from the funds along with $400 million in loans, a revolving credit line and cash to pay for the deal.

Last July, Sinclair announced it was buying Allbritton for $985 million.

The station group reportedly cleared the last hurdle blocking approval of the deal last week by agreeing to a settlement with the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. As part of the deal, Sinclair agreed to sell Harrisburg, PA, ABC affiliate WHTM as soon as the purchase goes through.

Sinclair Launches College Sports Network

sinclair_304Sinclair Broadcast Group announced today it’s getting into the sports programming game by launching a collegiate sports initiative called the American Sports Network.

The network plans to air its programming on Sinclair’s CW and MyNet stations and has deals with Division I conferences like Conference USA, the Colonial Athletic Association, Big South Conference, Southern Conference and Patriot League.

The initiative, headed up by Doron Gorshein, CEO of Sinclair Networks, will air live football, basketball, soccer and other games. The station group also added, “the Company’s plans may include potential development of new cable networks and digital platforms focused on these new content initiatives” if it can secure carriage agreements with distributors.

“This is another example of our foray into the content creation business,” David Smith, president and CEO of Sinclair said in a statement. “The launch of ASN will provide important and valuable content that is directed at serving our local communities, while improving the value of our CW and MyNet affiliates. We are confident in Doron’s ability to lead this endeavor, given his acumen in this arena.”

Sinclair Reportedly Clears Last Hurdle Before Closing Deal for Allbritton

sinclair_304The Wall Street Journal reports Sinclair Broadcast Group is moving closer to sealing its deal for Allbritton Communications by settling a lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.

The DOJ thought Sinclair’s purchase of ABC affiliate WHTM in a market where it already owns CBS affiliate WHP and CW affiliate WLYH would affect the cost of advertising in the market.

Last month Sinclair agreed to sell the station to Media General when the Allbritton deal is finalized.

“The rivalry between the stations has helped to constrain advertising rates, and without the divestiture, advertisers on stations in this area would likely have paid higher prices,” said Bill Baer, assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.

The settlement comes less than two weeks before a one-year clock will run out for Sinclair to get regulatory approval for its Allbritton deal. If approval isn’t reached in time, Sinclair has said the deal may not close.

The settlement will “pave the way in fact for a DOJ approval,” wrote Evercore analyst Doug Arthur. “Next stop: the FCC,” referring to the Federal Communications Commission. Read more

Seven Months Later, Sinclair’s WNWO Back on Buckeye Cable

sinclair_buckeyeThe seven month long retrans dispute between Block Communications owned Buckeye Cable and Sinclair owned Toledo NBC affiliate WNWO has been resolved.

At times, the tensions in the dispute went public with Buckeye depicting Sinclair as the Grinch in an ad in Block owned newspaper, The Blade. Sinclair countered by calling Buckeye’s tactics “juvenile” and “silly antics.”

Sinclair released a statement that said in part, “In addition to customary terms and conditions, the agreement provides for Buckeye to pay a signing bonus to WNWO-TV, which is in an amount that more than covers the legal fees incurred as a result of a complaint filed by Buckeye at the Federal Communications Commission alleging that Sinclair had failed to negotiate in good faith.”

While The Blade reported, “Both parties also agreed to withdraw the complaints they had filed against each other with the FCC.”

Two Scripps Stations Premiere New Style of News Show

the now kmghE.W. Scripps says it’s “redefining the afternoon news” with a show called The NOW.

The show will debut on Denver ABC affiliate KMGH and Kansas City NBC affiliate KSHB starting today at 4:00 p.m.. The station group said it covers what’s trending on social media and “invites the audience to join the conversation across traditional and digital media platforms” and is not a newscast.

“I believe The NOW will set the pace for the type of programming that audiences on multiple platforms crave,” Brian Lawlor, SVP of Scripps television, said in a statement. “These audiences want to know what’s happening right now, give their own take on those events, and share their thoughts with their own social media networks.”

Denver’s version of The Now will be anchored by Lionel Bienvenu while the KSHB show will feature digital reporter Deb Tuff. Read more

One Station Group Makes Big Move in a Small Market

npg logoNews-Press & Gazette is now the only game in town for TV viewers in the Yuma, AZ-El Centro, CA, market.

NPG has agreed to a sharing agreement with Blackhawk Broadcasting to operate both NBC affiliate KYMA and CBS affiliate KSWT.

NPG owns KECY and KESE the CW, ABC, FOX and Telemundo affiliates in that market (DMA #166).

Mike Meara, EVP and COO at NPG Broadcasting, told TVSpy, “Due to the economic challenges facing Yuma/El Centro, and similar markets our size, this agreement will allow us to share resources in News, Engineering, Operations and Promotions that will result in a stronger operation that will be able serve the Yuma/El Centro area with a more robust news gathering operation and deeper commitment to Community Service.” Read more

Sharyl Attkisson to Work as Investigative Reporter for Sinclair

SharylAttkissonFormer CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson will work for Sinclair Broadcasting as an independent freelance investigative reporter.

Attkisson quit CBS in March. At the time, Politico’s Dylan Byers reported Attkisson “had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network’s liberal bias, an outsize influence by the network’s corporate partners and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting, several sources said.”

In an email obtained by FTVLive, which first reported the story, Scott Livingston head of news for Sinclair wrote, “Sharyl will focus on stories that follow the money and waste watch type of investigations.” Waste Watch is a Sinclair investigative franchise.

Livingston told TVSpy Attkisson would file one to two pieces a month starting next week and that all Sinclair stations would be strongly encouraged to run them. He added, Attkisson “fits with our commitment to tracking the truth and being our advocate for the taxpayer.”

Investors Take Stock in Broadcasters After Aereo Ruling

BroadcastStocks

Following the Supreme Court ruling on Aereo, in which the high court ruled the service violates the broadcasters’ copyrights by taking the signals for free, shares of publicy-traded broadcasting companies shot up. Nexstar which owns more than 70 stations across the country jumped +15% on the news. Sinclair, which owns stations representing more than 38% of the U.S., shot up +14% and CBS Corp. which owns 29 TV stations, as well as the CBS network, was up +5% at one point this morning. Disney, Comcast, 21st Century Fox and Gannett also saw gains.

Paul Clement, who was the attorney for the broadcasters in the case writes, “Today’s decision is a victory for consumers. The Court has sent a clear message that it will uphold the letter and spirit of the law just as Congress intended.”

Gannett Completes Sale of Phoenix Stations to Meredith

meredith logo_304x200Gannett and Sander Media today announced they have completed the sale of Phoenix, AZ, independent station KTVK and CW affiliate KASW to Meredith Corporation.

The total sale price of the sale announced in December including KMOV in St. Louis was $407.5 in cash. The KMOV deal closed in February.

Meredith chairman and CEO Stephen M. Lacy, said in a statement, “These are high performing stations and will add to our already strong cash flow. We will increase our presence in the large and growing Phoenix market, where we also own KPHO-TV, the CBS affiliate.”

According to Meredith both it and SagamoreHill have “voluntarily agreed to divest KASW through a cash sale, swap transaction or combination thereof.”

Meredith announced Wednesday it was buying WGGB in Springfield, MA, from Gormally Broadcasting for $53.8 million.

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