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Gannett to Acquire Six London Broadcasting Stations For $215M

gannett logoGannett Co. will purchase six stations in Texas from London Broadcasting for $215 million. The stations are KCEN in Waco-Temple-Bryan, KYTX in Tyler-Longview, KIII in Corpus Christi, KBMT and digital subchannel KJAC in Beaumont-Port Arthur, KXVA in Abilene-Sweetwater and KIDY in San Angelo.

The acquisition is the latest expansion of Gannett, which nearly doubled its broadcast portfolio with the acquisition of Belo in December. “The addition of these stations will expand Gannett’s reach into some of the fastest growing markets in the nation and furthers our successful transformation into a diversified multi-media company,” Gannett president and CEO Gracia Martore said in a statement.

The transaction is expected to close this summer. After the closing, London Broadcasting Company COO Phil Hurley will continue to lead the stations.

The release is after the jump. Read more

Sinclair Broadcasting Forming PAC

sinclair_304Sinclair Broadcasting is forming a PAC.

According to The Hill, Rebecca Hanson, Sinclair SVP of policy and strategy said the station group will use the political action committee “as it works out issues in front of Congress and the FCC.”

“There are a lot of challenges facing our industry,” said Hanson. “And we believe that engaging in the process through the PAC is one of a variety of ways to further our goals.”

Before being hired by Sinclair in November, Hanson worked as a senior adviser in the FCC’s media bureau.

Hanson told The Hill the foray into politics is in the early stages. “We’re still in the process of forming it internally,” said Hanson.

Q1 Earnings: Sinclair Broadcast Revenues Up 48%

sinclair logoSinclair Broadcast Group reported $373.9 million in net broadcast revenues for the first quarter of 2014, a 47.8% increase compared to the year-ago quarter.

Operating income for the quarter was $81 million, up 27.2% from the prior year period. Political revenues were $6.1 million compared to $0.9 million in the first quarter of 2013. Sinclair reports $8.2 million in revenues generated by the Super Bowl, and $3.7 million in revenues generated by the Sochi Olympics.

“There were many positives in the first quarter that reflect our solid underlying fundamentals, despite the slower than usual start to the year due to the impact of the severe and frigid weather in many of our markets,” Sinclair president and CEO David Smith said in a statement. “The first quarter benefited from incremental Super Bowl, Olympic and retransmission consent fee revenues, while political revenues exceeded expectations. We also benefited from lower television operating expenses across many of our stations. Our main focus now is on closing the Allbritton station acquisition and lobbying to reform broadcast ownership regulatory inequality.”

Larry Wert’s Next Priority For Tribune Stations: Marketing and Sales

When he was first named president of Tribune Broadcasting, Larry Wert said his first priority was WPIX, Tribune’s station in New York City. With a new general manager and news director in place at the CW affiliate, we caught up with Wert at the TVNewser Show about his next priority, putting together “a marketing and sales organizations for all of our stations.” We also asked him for his thoughts on Aereo:

Charlie LeDuff Named National News Correspondent for FOX TV Stations

LeDuff FlagWJBK investigative reporter Charlie LeDuff has been named national news correspondent for FOX Television Stations.

In addition to reporting for the Detroit FOX owned station, LeDuff will lead a series of national news reports on all FOX owned stations called “The Americans with Charlie LeDuff.”

“Charlie’s unorthodox storytelling, no holds barred attitude and exceptional wit combine to produce a news product that is unlike any other reporting out there,” Sharri Berg, SVP of news operations for FOX TV stations said in a statement. Read more

Layoffs at Some Gannett Stations, Including KHOU and WFAA

gannettlogoSome Gannett stations have been hit with layoffs this week, TVSpy has confirmed. The layoffs affect “a small number of positions at some stations,” we hear.

“We’re continually taking advantage of new technology to reallocate resources to our journalism and put more feet on the street,” a Gannett spokesperson tells TVSpy. “Occasionally, these efforts result in staffing adjustments.”

The layoffs were reported yesterday by FTVLive and by Houston media blogger Mike McGuff.

McGuff reports KHOU in Houston and WFAA in Dallas were two of the stations where layoffs occurred. McGuff says “editors, master control operators, truck engineers, Great Day Houston staffers and the art department have all been affected.”

Hearst Television VP of Sales Kathleen Keefe to Retire

kathleen keefeKathleen Keefe, the vice president of sales at Hearst Television, will retire at the end of the year.

“Kathleen has provided great leadership and mentorship not only to our sales efforts, but our company,” said Hearst Television president Jordan Wertlieb said in a statement.  “…Her systems and good judgment in inventory and pricing disciplines and unmatched knowledge of political advertising, have made all of our sales managers better and have helped cultivate the company’s next generation of Hearst Television’s management.”

Before joining Hearst Television in 2001, Keefe was the vice president of sales and marketing for Post-Newsweek Stations. During her 14 years with that station group, she served as general manager of WKMG in Orlando and general sales manager of WFSB in Hartford and KPRC in Houston.

“I couldn’t be prouder or more appreciative of the tremendous sales management and account executive teams at our stations.  I know they will continue to provide industry-leading results,” Keefe said.

Q1 Earnings: LIN Media Net Revenues Up 18%

lin media logoLIN Media reported $166.2 million in net revenues for the first quarter of 2014, an 18% increase compared to the year-ago quarter.

Local revenues, which include net local advertising revenues, retransmission consent fee revenues and station website revenues, were up 9% for the quarter. Net national revenues, net political revenues and operating income were also up.

“Our results were driven by an increase in television advertising, higher pay-television subscriber fees and significant growth in digital revenues, which now comprise 15% of our net revenues and has its own reportable segment,” LIN Media president and CEO Vincent L. Sadusky said in a statement. “Our diverse group of assets helped us maximize revenues from the winter Olympics and the Super Bowl and achieve the high end of our first quarter revenue guidance. I am excited about the expansion of our digital portfolio with the addition of Federated Media and the future scale and synergy opportunities from the pending merger with Media General.”

Media General Cuts 45 Jobs

media general_304x200A month after announcing a $2.6 billion merger with Lin Media, Media General is cutting 45 corporate and shared services jobs.

In an email sent to staffers, obtained by TVSpy, CEO George Mahoney says the cuts are meant to decentralize operations and give greater control at the local level. “It’s important that we have a structure that allows us to focus increasingly at the local, station level, closer to the customer, so that we can be nimble and responsive to our communities,” Mahoney writes.

When the merger is complete, the new Media General will be the second largest station group in the nation with 74 stations in 46 markets, reaching 23% of U.S. TV households.

The affected employees have been notified, a Media General spokesperson tells us. “Many of those who are affected are stars and have been with us for many years,” Mahoney writes. “They have, and deserve, our deepest gratitude and appreciation for their hard work and long-standing commitment to Media General.”

Mahoney is among those leaving the company when the deal is completed. Media General chairman Stewart Bryan will stay on in that capacity, while LIN CEO Vincent Sadusky will be the CEO of the combined entity.

Mahoney’s note, after the jump…

Read more

Katherine Green Named SVP of News for Tribune

tribune_304Tribune Broadcasting has named Katherine Green senior vice president of news.

Green will be responsible for all news production and operations across Tribune’s 42 owned or operated stations. She reports to Tribune’s president of broadcast media, Larry Wert.

“Katherine is a visionary leader whose background in local broadcasting and news programming will bring value to our station’s broadcast and digital newsrooms,” Wert said in a statement.

Before coming to Tribune, Green worked for CNN Worldwide where she last worked as SVP and managing editor of HLN.

Green has also worked as VP and news director for WTTG in Washington, DC, and WBAL in Baltimore. She has also worked at WFLA in Tampa, WNBC and WABC in New York, WTVJ in Miami, and WTLV in Jacksonville, FL.

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