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Station Groups

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

Portland Reporter Suing Sinclair for Failing to Pay Overtime

sinclair_304Attorneys for former KATU investigative reporter Thom Jensen have filed a suit seeking class action status for a federal lawsuit saying Sinclair Broadcasting Group failed to pay overtime to news reporters at its stations in Oregon, reports The Register-Guard.

Jensen, who worked at the Portland ABC affiliate from October 2006 until December 2012, alleges he regularly worked between five to 10 hours of overtime each week without getting paid for it.

The lawsuit would include people who worked at KATU in Portland as well as those who worked at KMTR and KVAL in Eugene. Fisher Communications, which owned the stations before Sinclair announced it was buying the station group in April, is also named in the suit.

Also, the lawsuit claims Jensen has post-traumatic stress disorder and that the Portland station refused to accommodate his disability. The suit alleges Jensen was fired because of that disability and in retaliation for complaining about not receiving overtime pay.

Jensen claims the company created a stressful and difficult working environment that worsened his illness. Read more

It’s Official! Scripps Buying Granite Stations in Buffalo and Detroit

scripps logo_304x200E.W. Scripps has announced it really is buying Buffalo ABC Affiliate WKBW from Granite Broadcasting.

The station group announced it’s buying WKBW along with Detroit MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYD for $110 million in cash.

Rumors of the Buffalo sale have been swirling since Alan Pergament of The Buffalo News reported Scripps executives had toured the Buffalo station in December.

“These stations in Detroit and Buffalo will contribute strong cash flow to our core business, expand our reach in one of our best markets, and expand our TV footprint in partnership with ABC,” Rich Boehne, Scripps chairman, president and CEO said in a statement. Read more

Debra O’Connell Promoted to President of ABC National Sales for Owned Stations

oconnell_abcownedsalesDebra O’Connell has been promoted to president of ABC National Sales, succeeding John Watkins who announced his retirement in November.

“Debra is a fantastic executive, a great collaborator, and the perfect choice to head NTVS,” Rebecca Campbell, president of the ABC Owned Television Stations Group said in a statement. “Her many years with ABC and her excellent reputation within the advertising industry, as well as her vision for the future of the division, are a huge asset for our company.”

O’Connell will be responsible for national advertising sales for WABC in New York, KABC in Los Angeles, WLS in Chicago, WPVI in Philadelphia, KGO in San Francisco, KTRK in Houston, WTVD in Raleigh-Durham and KFSN in Fresno. She will also oversee national sales for the “Live Well Network” and ABC Regional Sports & Entertainment. Read more

Kathy Clements Named Tribune Broadcasting COO

tribune broadcastingTribune Co. has made another key appointment in its broadcasting division. Effective immediately, Kathy Clements joins Tribune as chief operating officer for broadcasting, reporting to Larry Wert.

Clements was formerly the senior vice president of media operations for Belo Corp., which was recently acquired by Gannett. She was general manager of WFAA, the ABC affiliate in Dallas, from 1997 to 2007.

Her appointment comes just a week after Lynda King was appointed to a similar position at Tribune.

“Kathy’s talent, leadership, and broad experience in broadcasting and digital media, is a great fit for our station group,” Wert, the Tribune’s president of broadcast media, said in a statement. “She and Lynda complement each other perfectly and make a great team—I am looking forward to working with them both to find innovative ways of expanding our audience reach on and off the air.”

Station Group Owner Facing Second Cancer Battle

intermountain west logoJim Rogers, owner of Intermountain West Communications, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal he is fighting cancer again but seemed more concerned about his employees than himself.

Intermountain West owns stations in Arizona, Idaho and Montana in addition to Las Vegas NBC affiliate KSNV.

“Just say this is my second go-round with cancer,” Rogers told the Review-Journal. Adding, “I assume I’ll come out of this all right. I did the last time.”

He revealed the development to his employees at a town hall-like meeting in the Channel 3 newsroom about a month ago.

“I think you owe your employees an explanation,” he said. “They needed to know. They needed to know for several reasons — first of all, just as a matter of knowing, and secondly, with what’s going to happen with the station.

“So I went in to say this is what I got but I can assure you that whatever happens, the station will not be put up for sale. That’s never been part of the plan and so they are rest assured that their jobs are intact,” he said. Read more

Tribune Names Lynda King COO for Broadcasting

tribune broadcastingLynda King has been named Tribune’s chief operating officer for its broadcasting division. In her new role, which is effective immediately, King will report to Tribune president of broadcast media Larry Wert.

King was formerly the SVP of operations for Local TV, which was recently acquired by Tribune.

“Lynda’s familiarity with our newly acquired stations, her broad experience in management, operations and sales, and her singular focus on working with our customers and communities will serve us extremely well as we move forward,” Wert said in a statement. “I have gotten to know Lynda while working on the acquisition of her former company and I’m confident she will be a great addition to the leadership team we are building at Tribune Broadcasting.”

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