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Station Groups

Sinclair Offers to Sell Stations Ahead of FCC Decision

sinclair_304Sinclair Broadcast Group told the FCC it will restructure its deal to buy Allbritton by selling some stations and stop providing services to others in order to comply with the proposed ban on shared service agreements.

Sinclair said it would sell WHP (CBS) in Harrisburg, PA, WMMP (MyTV) in Charleston, SC, WABM (MyTV) in Birmingham, AL, and would stop providing services to WTAT (FOX) in Charleston, SC, and would give the buyer of WHP the rights to an existing agreement to provide services to Harrisburg CW affiliate WLYH.

“The proposed changes to the transaction will have an immaterial impact on Sinclair as a whole and on the Allbritton transaction in particular,” David Smith, Sinclair’s president and CEO said in a statement. “Although we believe the shared services arrangements that were contemplated would have provided significant public interest benefits, including promoting minority ownership of broadcast stations.”

Media General and LIN Media Announce Merger

LIN Media GMedia General and LIN Media have announced a definitive merger agreement valued at $2.6 Billion creating the second largest TV broadcast company in the US.

Vincent Sadusky, LIN Media’s president and CEO, will become president and CEO of the new company which will be called Media General.

This is an exciting and historic day for both companies,” said Sadusky. “Together, we will be able to better serve our local communities throughout our significant and diverse geographic footprint and further grow our national digital business. I am honored to lead our new company, deliver important synergies and achieve new levels of success.”

The deal will bring together 74 stations which are either owned or operated by the two companies in 46 markets. Combined, the new company’s stations will reach 23% of US TV households.

ABC Board Approves Three Year Deal with NewsOne

abc logo_304x200A new three year deal with ABC NewsOne has been approved by the ABC Television Affiliates Association Board of Governors.

The agreement addresses the use of content on traditional platforms as well as digital and social media platforms.

“During the time that this agreement has been developed, the ways in which television stations and ABC produce news content has both expanded and changed in many ways,” John Rouse SVP of ABC Affiliate Relations said in a statement. “We have gone to great lengths to try to capture current uses, as well as anticipate future uses of video, with reciprocity as a guiding principle.”

Financial terms were not disclosed.

NewsOne provides round the clock coverage of news and sports to ABC owned and affiliated stations, domestic programs, foreign news agencies and ABC News.

Nexstar Buys Digital Publishing Platform for $20 Million

nexstar_304Nexstar has announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to buy the assets of Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc. for $20 million.

In its press release about the acquisition, Nexstar calls IB, “A pioneer of innovative technology and services for the broadcast media industry.”

“We envision our clients transforming their broadcast media businesses into digital brands powered by compelling, dynamic, frequently updated news, information and entertainment content,” IB says about itself on the company website. “We envision our clients creating deeply personal connections with their audience by way of websites, mobile devices, social media and special-purpose applications.” Read more

Q4 Earnings: Gray TV Revenue Down 25%

Gray Television reported $95.6 million in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2013, a decrease of 25% compared to the year-ago quarter. Compared to the last non-election year fourth quarter (2011), however, the company’s revenue was up 13%.

Local, national and internet advertising revenue all increased for the quarter, as did retransmission revenue. As expected, political advertising revenue, consulting revenue and other revenue was down.

“I am proud of the significant strides the Company made in 2013, recording record results for an off political year.  Our results reflect our continued commitment to owning and/or operating top stations in our local markets, and to leveraging the benefits of our operational excellence in order to deliver value to our stockholders,” Gray CEO Hilton H. Howell Jr. said in a statement. “We also entered into a number of significant transactions in 2013, and we continue to work toward completing the successful acquisition and integration of these operations, which we believe will further strengthen our Company.”

Tribune Names Devin Johnson Head of Digital Media

tribune_304Tribune Broadcasting has named Devin Johnson SVP and Head of Digital Media.

“Devin has both the vision and the operational experience to help Tribune Broadcasting redefine how we serve our audience,” said Tribune’s president of Broadcast Media Larry Wert. “He is an innovative leader with a record of success and we look forward to having him back in the Tribune family.”

Johnson will be responsible for product development, social media, content, technology and digital sales strategy.

This will be his second stint with Tribune, having started his career with Tribune Interactive. He has also worked for NBC Universal and has served as COO for Studio One Networks. Lately he has been working as a consultant for Chicago start-ups.

FCC Expected to Vote on Shared Service Agreement Ban

FCC_304Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler is expected to ask the FCC to vote on a ban of some shared-service agreements in the commissions next meeting.

The proposal is also expected to ban local stations from teaming up in retransmission negotiations.

Bloomberg reports Sinclair Broadcasting, along with several other station groups including Nexstar and LIN Media would be forced to give up some stations if the proposal passes.

Sinclair’s revenue last year from the type of arrangement the officials said Wheeler is most directly targeting amounted to $36 million, according to the filing. Sinclair reported $1.36 billion in revenue last year.

Sinclair fell 1.9 percent to $29.51 at 10:12 a.m. New York time. Nexstar lost 1.7 percent to $42.84, while Lin Media declined less than 1 percent to $23.09.

Wheeler needs to win a vote to pass the change at the FCC, where he is part of the three-member Democratic majority. The agency’s next meeting is March 31 in Washington. Read more

Marshall Hites to Lead Creative Services for All Tribune Stations

tribune_304Tribune Broadcasting has promoted Marshall Hites to SVP, Marketing and Creative Services.

He will oversee the Creative Services departments at all of Tribune’s 42 owned or operated stations. Hites will report to Tribune president of Broadcast Media Larry Wert and will stay involved in the marketing  operations at Los Angeles CW affiliate KTLA.

“Marshall has been an outstanding creative leader and television executive for KTLA and the Tribune stations previously under his purview,” Wert said in a statement. “Now that Tribune’s broadcast group has increased in size, we are looking forward to the oversight and expertise he will bring to the station group as a whole.”

Hites started at Tribune in 2011 as VP of Creative Services and Marketing where he oversaw creative at KTLA as well as the station group’s original 23 stations. He has worked at KCAL in Los Angeles, WFTV in Orlando, WFLA in Tampa, KMOL  (WOAI) in San Antonio, WJKS (WCWJ) in Jacksonville, and WJBF in Augusta.

He will work out of KTLA.

Christopher Berg Joins Nexstar Broadcasting

nexstar logoChristopher Berg is joining Nexstar Broadcasting as the Director of Local Content Development — West. Berg will begin March 20 and report to Nexstar’s senior vice president for station operations Blake Russell.

Berg joins Nexstar from WFAA in Dallas, where he was the assistant news director. In his new role, he will work with Nexstar’s stations west of the Mississippi river to create local content for both on-air and digital platforms.

“His extensive broadcast industry knowledge and track record of showcasing innovative local content makes Chris the ideal candidate to support our company-wide initiative to expand our creation and development of original local content that can be shared on a regional or group-wide level,” Russell said in a statement.

With Berg’s hire, Jerry Walsh — who currently holds the role of director of local content development for all Nexstar’s stations — will shift his oversight to the Nexstar stations east of the Mississippi.

Quincy Buys Three Stations from Granite, One From Malara

quincyQuincy Newspapers has announced it is adding nine stations in four markets by buying five stations outright and agreeing to provide operating services to four more.

From Granite Broadcasting, Quincy will buy NBC affiliate WEEK in Peoria, IL, NBC/MyTV affiliate KBJR and its satellite KRII in Duluth, MN/Superior, WI, and CBS/CW affiliate WBNG in Binghamton, NY. Quincy is buying ABC/CW affiliate WPTA in Ft. Wayne, IN, from Malara Broadcasting.

Quincy will also provide operating services to Sinclair Broadcasting Group’s ABC/CW affiliate WHOI and Four Seasons Broadcasting’s WAOE in Peoria, IL, as well as SagamoreHill Broadcasting’s newly acquired stations NBC/MyTV affiliate WISE in Ft. Wayne, IN, and CBS/CW affiliate KDLH in Duluth, MN. Read more

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