updated, 11:15 a.m. et

Gray Buying Hoak, Prime Stations For $342.5M

Upon completion of the deal and other pending transactions, Gray will own and/or operate television stations in 39 markets broadcasting a total of 123 distinct channels of programming, including 70 channels affiliated with one of the Big Four networks. At that time, Gray will operate duopolies in 16 markets.
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Gray Television announced today that it and its duopoly partner, Excalibur Broadcasting, are buying 20 stations in nine markets from Hoak Media and its duopoly partner, Parker Broadcasting, for $335 million.

All the stations are network affiliates, but seven are satellite stations and one is low power.

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At the same time, it said, Excalibur is buying the twin Fox affiliates in Minot-Bismarck, N.D., from John Tupper's Prime Cities Broadcasting for $7.5 million.

To comply with the FCC's local ownership limits, Gray said that it would spin off the four Hoak stations in Panama City, Fla., and one in Grand Junction, Colo., to "independent third parties."

If all the deals close as planned, Gray/Excalibur said it will end up with 15 more network affiliates in seven markets.

The stations Gray is buying from Excalibur (call letters with asterisks are satellite stations):

Brand Connections
  • KSFY (ABC/CW) Sioux Falls, S.D.
  • KABY (ABC)* Sioux Fall, S.D.
  • KPRY (ABC)* Sioux Falls, S.D.
  • KVLY (NBC) Fargo-Valley City, N.D.
  • KNOE (CBS) Monroe-El Dorado, La.
  • KFYR (NBC) Minot-Bismarck, N.D.
  • KMOT (NBC)* Minot-Bismarck, N.D.
  • KUMV (NBC)* Minot-Bismarck, N.D.
  • KQCD (NBC)* Minot-Bismarck, N.D.
  • WMBB (ABC) Panama City, Fla.
  • KALB (NBC/CBS) Alexandria, La.
  • KREX (CBS) Grand Junction-Montrose, Colo.
  • KREY (CBS)* Grand Junction-Montrose, Colo.
  • KREG (CBS)* Grand Junction-Montrose, Colo.
  • KNOP (NBC) North Platte, Neb.
  • KIIT-LP North Platte, Neb.

The four stations from the above list that Gray is selling to comply with the FCC rules:

  • WMBB (ABC) Panama City, Fla.
  • KREX (CBS) Grand Junction-Montrose, Colo.
  • KREY (CBS)* Grand Junction-Montrose, Colo.
  • KREG (CBS)* Grand Junction-Montrose, Colo.

The four stations that Excalibur is acquiring from Hoak and Parker:

    • KHAS (NBC) Lincoln-Hastings, Neb.
    • KXJB (CBS) Fargo-Valley City, N.D.
    • KAQY (ABC) Monroe-El Dorado, La.
    • KFQX (FOX) Grand Junction-Montrose, Colo.

    The two stations that Excalibur is buying from Prime Cities:

    • KNDX (FOX) Minot-Bismarck, N.D.
    • KXND (FOX)* Minot-Bismarck, N.D.

    According to Gray, it has agreed with Excalibur to enter into industry-standard shared services agreements through which Gray will provide back-office services and limited programming to Excalibur's stations in the Lincoln, Fargo, Bismarck, and Monroe markets. 

    The shared services arrangements will commence upon Excalibur's purchase of those stations. Gray and Excalibur will enter into put and call option agreements through which Gray could acquire these stations when permitted by applicable law.

    "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring the Hoak, Parker and Prime Cities television stations into the Gray community," said Hilton Howell, Gray's president-CEO. "These transactions will yield impressive synergies, many of which are unique to Gray given how well the stations' locations, operations and culture complement our own.

    "Gray's existing stations will make the acquired stations stronger, while the acquired stations will make our existing stations better."

    Upon completion of this and other pending transactions, Gray will own or operate stations in 39 television markets with 123 distinct channels of programming, including 70 channels affiliated with one of the Big Four networks. 

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    Comments (9) -

    Howard Burgers posted over 3 years ago
    It's their business, but I'm not sure adding that much debt is worthwhile for stations/satellites in +110 size markets. Unless they plan on turning them into the government during the spectrum repackage, buying small market stations just to get bigger in front of The Street is a losing proposition.
    Trip Ericson posted over 3 years ago
    What about KAUZ?
    tjxx Nickname posted over 3 years ago
    Howard Burgers..Obviously you have missed the last 5 years in the broadcasting business
    tvspy Nickname posted over 3 years ago
    Additional retrans money...additional political money...additional retrans leverage. Not everyone will be cashing in on retrans money. The small will get whatever the cable/ADS companies want to give. With affiliateds giving 50% back to the network...some will loose everything
    James Cieloha Nickname posted over 3 years ago
    I feel Gray will do the best job combining KNOP with KNPL LD 10/11 North Platte in North Platte and KHAS with KOLN/KGIN 10/11 in LIncoln/Grand Island and KSNB 10/11 Central Nebraska serving York, Superior and Grand Island. It still too bad that there's no one willing to try acquiring either KLKN along with WLNE from Philip Lombardo under Citadel Communications and NTV-KHGI/KWNB and KFXL along with KSWT, KCWI and KDMI, WIWN, and WLGA from Harry Pappas under Pappas Telecasting being in control of trustee Lee W Shubert now under control of David Stapleton as trustee.
    SalesGrrl Nickname posted over 3 years ago
    riiiiiiiiiiight.... But seriously, where is the grandstanding community action group whining that corporate greed is homogenizing our news? Is Gray not worthy of the same attention as Sinclair? These are the markets those bums should be concerned about! The big markets face bigger competition for eyeballs, and have the $$$ from ad revenue to do stuff. Its the little guys who can't pay the talent in the newsroom who are in the most danger of getting homogenized with a big deal.
    Mark Long posted over 3 years ago
    Every consolidation and duopoly that has happened in my town, has resulted in huge staff reductions. I guess that's the idea of the whole deal. Sinclair, Local TV and Tyler finished consolidations of stations and it meant elimination of jobs across the board. Local TV even went farther to install a new traffic, automation, and media acquisition system that was intended to get rid of all MCO's. Where I now work, we are headed that way as media buyers drop content right into our air server. If that's not enough, the syndicators also drop their programs the same way, no human intervention needed. Several engineering positions have evaporated away and the trend is to shed the old "crusty" engineer and hire two youngins at half the pay. Contract engineering is also a trend we are seeing. If you install the new self-diagnosing exciters with hot swap repairs, you don't need an engineer babysitting your plant. Our engineers are mostly studio engineers and if there is a problem, they can call in Harris to fix anything major. Our engineers are more software operators as the biggest problem in our center is data flow.
    newsbot Nickname posted over 3 years ago
    Welcome to the radio business a decade or more ago, or any other business that adopts efficiencies through automation or any other labor-saving device or process. You can either embrace this trend or be steamrolled by it. If you want to stay in this business, learn new skills and be flexible.
    UnsignedSuit Nickname posted over 3 years ago
    "Efficiencies" "Synergies" "Cost Savings" = Layoffs
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    Ratings

    Overnights, adults 18-49 for September 26, 2016
    • 1.
      4.4/12
    • 2.
      2.8/8
    • 3.
      2.5/7
    • 4.
      1.5/4
    • 5.
      0.8/2
    • 6.
      0.3/1
    Source: Nielsen

    Reviews

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    • Kevin Fallon

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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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