The $17 million deal will give Freedom a duopoly with its WRGB in the upstate New York market.
Tribune Co. today announced the sale of WCWN Albany, N.Y., to Freedom Communications Inc. for $17 million. The transaction will close upon regulatory approval.
“This transaction, like our recently announced sale of WATL-TV in Atlanta, supports our company’s plan to divest non-core assets as part of the stock repurchase strategy announced last month,” said Dennis FitzSimons, Tribune chairman and chief executive officer.
On May 30 Tribune announced it will acquire up to 75 million shares of the company’s common stock, sell at least $500 million in assets, and reduce operating expenses by $200 million over the next two years.
WCWN will be Freedom’s second station in the Albany market, where it currently operates WRGB, a CBS affiliate.
“As a new CW affiliate, WCWN will be part of an Albany duopoly under Freedom Communications’ ownership, and will have great potential for growth,” said John Reardon, Tribune Broadcasting president.
Tribune acquired WCWN in 1999 from WMHT Educational Telecommunications to support the distribution of the growing WB Network. At the time, Albany was the largest television market without a WB affiliate. Upon acquisition, Tribune changed the call letters of the former PBS station WMHQ to WEWB, reflecting its new affiliation with The WB. The call letters WCWN were adopted last month in preparation for the station’s launch as a CW Network affiliate this fall.