Big Deals = Big Changes In Station Groups
19. JOURNAL BROADCAST GROUP
2013 Revenue: $163 million
Stations: 16 in 10 markets
Ownership: Journal Communications (NYSE:JRN)
Key executives: Steven J. Smith, chairman-CEO, Journal Communications; Andre J. Fernandez, president-COO, Journal Communications; Deborah Turner, EVP of television and president-GM News Channel 5 network, Nashville.
What's up: Journal sold its Palm Springs, Calif., NBC-MNT duopoly of KMIR-KPSE-LP last October to OTA Broadcasting for $17 million in cash. OTA, backed by billionaire computer retailer Michael Dell, has been buying stations with an eye toward selling spectrum back to the government in the FCC's planned incentive auction. The deal closed this January.
The group changed ad reps last December, choosing Eagle Television Sales of the Katz Television Group as the new national sales representative for 10 of the company’s stations in seven markets: Boise, Idaho (KIVI-KNIN); Green Bay, Wis. (WGBA-WACY); Lansing, Mich. (WSYM); Las Vegas (KTNV); Palm Springs, Calif. (KMIR-KPSE); Milwaukee (WTMJ) and Twin Falls, Idaho (KSAW). Nashville station WTVF, which Journal acquired in December 2012, was already represented by Eagle.
At the beginning of this year, Journal Broadcast Group made organizational changes to its leadership team. Journal Broadcast Group began the year with executive moves that included promoting Debbie Turner, EVP-GM of WTVF Nashville, to EVP of television, reporting to Andre Fernandez, president-CFO of Journal Communications.
In addition, KNTV Las Vegas GM Jim Prather assumed group-wide responsibilities for a number of strategic television efforts including retransmission consent agreement negotiations, network relations, original programming initiatives and TV Everywhere.
Former Fisher Communications executive Brian McHale was named Journal’s VP-chief technology officer in March, succeeding the retiring Andy Laird.
2013 Revenue: $126 million
Stations: 65 in 23 markets
Ownership: Entravision Communications Corp. (NYSE: EVC)
Key executives: Walter F. Ulloa, chairman-CEO; Christopher T. Young, EVP-CFO-treasurer; Jeffery A. Liberman, COO; Mario M. Carrera, chief revenue officer
What's up: In advance of the FCC’s adopting a new regulation that would generally bar broadcasters from joint TV station retransmission consent negotiations, in March, Univision Communications asked the FCC to allow it to continue negotiating retransmission consent deals for all Entravision Communications stations.
21. HUBBARD BROADCASTING
St. Paul, Minn.
2013 Revenue: $117 million
Stations: 14 in 7 markets
Ownership: Hubbard family
Key executives: Stanley S. Hubbard, chairman; Rob Hubbard, president, Hubbard Television Group
What's up: Hubbard made what President Rob Hubbard called a tough decision last December when it opted to change representation, dropping Petry Media for CoxReps. "It was no fun," Hubbard said, noting that the family-owned broadcast group's relationship with Petry dates back to the 1920s.
Another, less painful, move Hubbard made at the end of last year was the deal it signed with Internet Broadcasting Systems to provide digital advertising operations support for Hubbard’s TV group. The partnership includes creative development through campaign coordination and trafficking, as well as SEO and SEM.
22. Quincy Newspapers Inc.
2013 Revenue: $109 million
Key executives: Ralph M. Oakley, president-CEO; Dennis Kendall, director of broadcast news; Dan Batchelor, director of broadcast sales
What’s up: This private, family-owned media company made acquisition news in February with its deal to buying three stations from Granite Broadcasting Corp. and one owned by Malara Broadcasting for $190 million. The stations are WEEK (NBC) Peoria-Bloomington, Ill. (DMA 117); WPTA (ABC-CW) Fort Wayne, Ind. (DMA 109); KBJR (NBC-MNT) and its satellite, KRII, in Duluth, Minn.-Superior, Wis. (DMA 139); and WBNG (CBS-CW) Binghamton, N.Y. (DMA 157).
In addition to owning and operating the newly acquired stations, Quincy said it would provide operating services to several stations, including WHOI and WAOE in Peoria-Bloomington, Ill., as well as stations to be acquired by Sagamore Hill Broadcasting: WISE Fort Wayne, Ind., and KDLH Duluth, Minn.-Superior, Wis. Those moves, which preceded the FCC’s crackdown on sharing agreements, may be why the deal is still awaiting FCC action.
Quincy Broadcasting upgraded its seven-year-old centralcasting setup with an infusion of new technology from Harris Broadcast that’s expected to improve the group’s workflow and cut down costs. The upgrade brought the group’s 12th station into its hub-and-spoke model last October, allowing the hubs to time and distribute syndicated programming, in addition to some new proprietary tasks, like distributing syndicated promos.
In December, NAB Television Board Chair Marci Burdick appointed Quincy Newspapers President-CEO Ralph Oakley to the NAB TV board of directors. He replaced Scott Blumenthal, LIN Media EVP of television, who retired.
23. CORDILLERA COMMUNICATIONS
St. Paul, Minn.
Ownership: Evening Post Industries (private)
2013 Revenue: $99 million
Stations: 26 in 12 markets
Key executives: John Barnwell, CEO, Evening Post Industries; Terry Hurley, president; Cordillera; Dan Stein, director of programming and operations
What's up: Last August, the parent company of Cordillera Communications, Evening Post Publishing Co., changed its name to Evening Post Industries. According to company CEO John Barnwell: "The name change better reflects our existing diversified holdings and ongoing acquisition strategy beyond media, while keeping the legacy value of Evening Post.”