11. GRAY TELEVISION, Atlanta
2016 Spot Revenue: $708.2 million Stations: 131 in 56 markets Coverage: 10.3% Ownership: Gray Television Inc. (NYSE: GTN) Key Executives: Hilton Howell Jr., president-CEO; Kevin Latek, EVP-chief legal and development officer; James Ryan, EVP-CFO; Bob Smith, EVP/co-COO; Nick Waller, EVP/co-CEO; Jason Effinger, EVP/chief digital and technology officer.
Gray was another group that experienced a growth spurt over the past 12 months. It grew from 107 stations in last year’s ranking (No. 13), to 131 and 11th place. It benefitted from the Nexstar-Media General merger when it bought to stations that had to be spun off from that deal, WBAY Green Bay, Wis., and KWQC Davenport, Iowa.
It also moved into the OTT world last December when it adopted over-the-top video network Haystack TV to offer a mix of top news stories and other content targeted to millennials’ interests based on their viewing habits, preferred publishers and favorite topics.
The company announced in February that it was receiving $90.8 million from the FCC’s spectrum auction. Two days later, it purchased WABI Bangor, Maine, and WCJB Gainesville, Fla., for $85 million from Diversified Communications.
Earlier this month, it agreed to pay Mt. Mansfield Television $29 million for WCAX Burlington, Vt.