EQUITY SAYS ADIOS TO SPANISH-LANGUAGE NEWS

The cash-strapped TV station group dropped the centralized twice-daily (evening and late) newscasts last Friday. They aired on Univision affiliates in Oklahoma City, Naples-Ft. Myers, Detroit, Amarillo, Salt Lake City and Northwest Arkansas.
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The financially troubled Equity Media shut down its centralized Spanish-language newscast last Friday, leaving its Univision affiliates in six markets without evening and late news.

The affected full- and low-power stations were in Oklahoma City, Naples-Ft. Myers, Fla.; Detroit; Amarillo, Texas; Salt Lake City and Fort Smith-Fayetteville, Ark.

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Tom Arnost, the president and CEO of the Equity station group, blamed the slumping economy and declines in auto, real estate and other key advertising categories.

Given the revenue shortfalls, “it would have been financially irresponsible to continue the news operation,” Arnost said. “It’s very costly.”

The two daily newscasts were anchored at Equity Media production and distribution hub in Little Rock, Ark. But they were localized with reports from two reporters stationed in each of the six markets.

“It was terrific that we were able to do it has long as we did,” Arnost added.

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In April, publicly traded Equity announced that it was financial hot water, triggering a sharp drop in its stock price.

“If the company is unable to obtain adequate additional sources of capital in the near term it will need to cease all or a portion of its operations, seek protection under U.S. bankruptcy laws and regulations, engage in a restructuring or undertake a combination of these and other actions,” it said in a public filing.

To raise capital, the company agreed to spin off five low-power stations in Florida to Arnost and another officer of the company for $8 million.

Arnost said that other refinancing efforts are on-going and that news of those efforts should be released soon.

Equity claims to be the second-largest affiliate group of the top-ranked Univision and Telefutura Spanish-language networks with 19 affiliates (16 Univision and three Telefutura), 13 of which are in the nation’s top 65 Hispanic television markets.

The company also operates five My Network TV affiliates, four Fox affiliates and one ABC affiliate.

Equity is also the distributor of Retro Television Network, a 24-hour network comprising mostly classic TV shows that is intended for broadcast on secondary digital channels.

Over the past several months, Equity has announced a series of affiliation agreements with TV stations belonging to Cox Television, Allbritton, Barrington, Capitol, Media General and Scripps.

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Ratings

Overnights, adults 18-49 for September 29, 2016
  • 1.
    1.6/6
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    1.2/4
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    1.2/4
  • 4.
    0.9/3
  • 5.
    0.6/2
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    0.3/1
Source: Nielsen

Reviews

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  • Maureen Ryan

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  • Kevin Fallon

    In a fall TV season that’s already making a splash for championing diverse, distinctive voices in an array of projects that they created, wrote, and starred in, Better Things on FX stands out. The show is created by, written by, and starsPamela Adlon. She plays Sam Fox, the single mother of three daughters modeled after her own reality-show-ready experience raising three girls in Los Angeles following a divorce. Sam is also, like Adlon, a working actress — on shows both raunchy, a la Californication, and animated for children, like her role on Recess. It’s a refreshingly blunt take on single motherhood without sacrificing the warmth of parental love, portraying the dance between selfishness and selflessness that’s at the heart of being a parent — especially one weathering the hormonal fireworks of a household of four women at different ages.

  • David Wiegand

    The fall TV season doesn’t count as much as it used to — we already know that. But no matter how many retreads the broadcast networks throw at viewers in the next few months, this fall will be memorable because of the premiere of Atlanta on Tuesday, Sept. 6, on FX. The half-hour comedy created by and starring Donald Glover (Community), simply and brilliantly recalibrates our expectations of what a TV comedy is and how black lives are portrayed on the medium.

  • Louisa Ada Seltzer

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  • Neil Genzlinger

    Bryan Cranston brings his Tony Award-winning interpretation of President Lyndon B. Johnson to television in an adaptation of the Robert Schenkkan play All the Way, and it’s still quite a sight to behold, just as it was on Broadway in 2014. Nothing beats witnessing this kind of larger-than-life portrayal onstage, of course. But the television version, presented by HBO, offers plenty of rewards, allowing Cranston to work the close-ups and liberating him from the confines of a theater set. Cranston’s performance is a gem — in his hands, this accidental president comes across as an amazing bundle of contradictions, someone who seems at once too vulgar for the job and just right for it.

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