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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Ritchhart’

Nexstar, Granite Settle Antitrust Lawsuit, Returning Fox Affiliation to Fort Wayne’s WFFT

Nexstar Broadcasting has settled an antitrust lawsuit against Granite Broadcasting and WISE, Granite’s NBC and Fox affiliate in Fort Wayne, Ind.

As a result of the settlement, Nexstar’s WFFT will once again become a Fox affiliate after 18 months as an independent station.

WFFT lost its Fox affiliation in 2011. WISE picked up the affiliation, giving Granite control of the Fox, NBC, ABC, CW and MyNetworkTV affiliations in Fort Wayne. Claiming Granite was monopolizing local television sales, Nexstar filed suit in 2011.

In a statement Wednesday, Nexstar said the settlement was “mutually agreed” on, “without any costs being borne by either party.”

“We are looking forward to the return of FOX’s programming to WFFT LOCAL where we are committed to providing the most relevant, compelling and informative content and community-focused programming to our viewers,” VP-GM Bill Ritchhart said in a statement.

Nexstar also announced Wednesday it would acquire KSEE, the NBC affiliate in Fresno, CA from Granite for $26.5 million.

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Dan Ball Joins WFFT As News Director, Anchor

Dan Ball is joining WFFT, Nexstar’s independent station in Fort Wayne, as news director and main anchor.

“We’re excited to have Dan join our station and lead our award-winning news team,” VP-GM Bill Ritchhart said in a statement. “Dan brings a wealth of large market experience that can take our news room to the next level.”

Ball was most recently the morning anchor at KSNV, the NBC affiliate in Las Vegas. In March 2012, the station did not renew his contract.

He replaces Jim Blue, who is joining WNWO in Toledo as news director and main anchor.

After Losing Fox Affiliation, Nexstar-owned WFFT Will Go Independent Next Month

After losing its Fox affiliation last month, Nexstar-owned WFFT will become the first independent station in the Fort Wayne market, Nexstar announced today.

Fox and Nexstar have been locked in a long battle over cable and satellite retransmission fees. Throughout the past several months, Fox has been cutting loose Nexstar-owned stations, forcing them to forge new affiliations in their respective markets. WFFT is the second Nexstar-owned station to announce it will become independent after losing its Fox affiliation –  the other one is Evansville’s WTVW.

The independent WFFT will launch August 1. The station will add news coverage across its broadcasts, with the 10 p.m. weekday newscast to be expanded to a full hour this summer and the 10 p.m. weekend newscast to be expanded to a full hour this fall. Nexstar also announced today that as part of the transition, WFFT will debut high definition programming in October. It will be the first station in the market to make the HD switch.

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