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Posts Tagged ‘Armstrong Williams’

Juan Williams: FCC’s Proposed Ban on Shared Service Agreements Will Hurt Diversity

local newsroomFox News political analyst Juan Williams pens an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal arguing that the FCC’s proposed change in ownership regulations will hurt diversity in local broadcasting.

Williams writes that Armstrong Williams — who owns WWMB in Myrtle Beach and WEYI in Flint, Mich., both of which are operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group — will have “the financial rug pulled out from underneath him” if the FCC votes to ban sidecar agreements:

The black-owned stations simply lack the economic scale to get adequate advertising rates to pay their bills or even buy the station. For example, the bank that lent Mr. Williams $50 million to buy his stations did so with the understanding that he had the agreement with Sinclair, the much bigger firm.

In the last 10 years, the number of black-owned commercial television outlets licensed to black-owned companies has dropped to three from 21, the result of general market consolidation and some bankruptcies. Of the three remaining, Mr. Williams owns two and the third belongs to Tougaloo College, a historically black institution in Jackson, Miss.

A change in FCC rules would do more than damage Mr. Williams. His stations serve the areas of Flint, Mich., and Myrtle Beach, S.C., both of which have large minority populations. For many years Mr. Williams, a well-known media personality, has been actively involved in shaping local public-affairs programs that speak to minority concerns as a way to boost his own audience. Losing his TV stations means the communities also will lose broadcast content that reflects a minority perspective.

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Sinclair Buying Barrington TV Stations For $370M

Sinclair Broadcast Group is purchasing 18 stations from Barrington Broadcasting Group for $370 million, the company announced Thursday. As part of the agreement, Sinclair will operate or provide sales services to an additional six Barrington stations.

The 24 stations are located in 15 markets and reach 3.5% of the U.S. TV households. The transaction is subject to FCC approval and antitrust clearance, and Sinclair estimates the deal will close in the second quarter of 2013.

The Barrington stations, along with five stations Sinclair is buying from Cox Media, will make up Sinclair’s Chesapeake TV group, which will focus on stations in smaller markets. Sinclair has announced Steve Pruett as the chief operating officer of Chesapeake TV. Pruett was most recently CEO of Communications Corporation of America’s 25-station group.

Due to FCC ownership conflict rules, Sinclair will sell WSYT in Syracuse and WYZZ in Peoria as it acquires Barrington’s stations. The stations will be purchased by Cunningham Broadcasting Corporation and Howard Stirk Holdings, a new entity formed by Armstrong Williams, a political commentator and CEO of The Graham Williams Group.

After the jump, see a list of the stations involved in the sale. Read more