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Station Groups

It’s Trading Day! Five Station Groups Buy and Sell Ten Stations

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Five station groups have undertaken a station swap similar to what happens at the trading deadline in professional sports. This time, though, the moves affect hundreds of people.

Media General and LIN Media, looking to comply with Federal regulations over ownership rules have initiated a TV station swap involving Sinclair Broadcast, Meredith and Hearst Corporation.

Here’s the breakdown:

Sinclair will buy from Media General: Providence NBC affiliate WJAR

Sinclair will buy from LIN Media: Green Bay FOX affiliate WLUK, Green Bay CW affiliate WCWF and certain assets of Savannah, GA, FOX affiliate WTGS and the rights to acquire the principal assets of WTGS, which is operated by LIN but owned by WTGS Television, LLC.

Media General will buy from Sinclair: Tampa, FL, MyTV affiliate WTTA, creating a duopoly since they already own NBC affiliate WFLA, and Colorado Springs stations KXRM (FOX) and KXTU (CW).

Media General will sell to Hearst: Birmingham, AL NBC affiliate WVTM.

LIN Media will sell to Hearst: Savannah, GA ABC affiliate WJCL.

Meredith will buy from LIN Media: Mobile-Pensacola FOX affiliate WALA. Read more

Sinclair Names New GMs in Washington, DC and Columbus Markets

sinclair_304Sinclair Broadcast Group has named Dan Mellon GM of its Washington, D.C. ABC affiliate WJLA and local cable news network NewsChannel 8.

The station group also named Tony D’Angelo GM of Columbus, OH, ABC affiliate WSYX.

“I am excited to announce the promotions of Dan and Tony,” Steve Marks, Sinclair’s co-chief operating officer said in a statement. “They have been loyal employees of the Company with a history of success in leading our stations, especially in Columbus, one of our largest and most important markets.”

Since 2006, Mellon has been group manager of Sinclair’s stations. He was GM of WSYX from 2005 until 2006 and was also responsible for oversight into WTTE. D’Angelo had been director of sales at WSYX, WTTE and WWHO in Columbus since 2003.

Kelly Lattimer Named GM of WQRF-WTVO

nexstar_304Nexstar Broadcasting has named Kelly Lattimer VP and GM of Rockford, IL, FOX affiliate WQRF. She will also oversee ABC affiliate WTVO through Nexstar’s operating agreement with Mission Broadcasting.

“With Kelly’s personal and professional longevity in the Rockford market she brings an intimate understanding of the local community to her new role at WQRF-TV,” Tim Busch, executive VP and co-chief operating officer for Nexstar said in a statement.

Since 2008, Lattimer has been the director of sales of Nexstar’s Rockford broadcast and digital operations. She was the GSM of KFXA in Cedar Rapids before joining Nexstar.

Brad Ramsey Promoted to VP of Sales for Gannett Broadcasting

gannett_304Gannett Broadcasting has announced Brad Ramsey has been promoted to VP of Sales of the station group.

Currently Ramsey is the president and GM of Gannett owned WVEC in Norfolk, VA.

He starts his new job with the mother ship on September 8. He will report to Dan Lyons, Gannett Broadcast VP of sales strategy and development.

Nexstar Sells Evansville Station for $18.6 Million

nexstar_304Nexstar has announced it is selling Evansville CBS affiliate WEVV for $18.6 million to minority led broadcaster Bayou City Broadcasting Evansville, Inc.

“The proposed transaction announced today highlights our focus on completing pending transactions and represents the second time in the last two months that Nexstar has structured an agreement that furthers the FCC’s goal of increasing minority television ownership diversity,” Nexstar chairman, president and CEO Perry Sook said in a statement.

WEVV is owned by Communications Corp. of America. Nexstar and Mission Broadcasting announced they were buying CCA last April for $270 million.

According to the Nexstar press release, “The sale of WEVV to BCB brings the overall CCA transaction into compliance with Department of Justice requirements for approval and will release the pending transaction from hold pending divestiture.”

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

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.”

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