DMA 23

Ion Buying WQEX Pittsburgh For $3 Million

The seller is noncommercial WQED, which has been trying to spin off the station since the mid-1990s. More than a decade ago, Ion, as Paxson Communications, had tried to acquire the station, but that deal ran into opposition from public TV advocates.

After nearly a decade and a half of trying, it looks as if noncommercial WQED Pittsburgh may finally have a deal to spin off WQEX, its second station now airing ShopNBC.

According to an FCC filing seeking approval of the deal, the buyer is Ion Media and the price is $3 million. Pittsburgh (DMA 23) is one of only 11 top 50 markets where Ion doesn’t have a station.

Ion, in its original incarnation as Paxson Communications, had tried to acquire WQEX in the late 1990s in a complicated three-way deal involving a local religious station, but the deal fell apart amid protests by local public television advocates.

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WQED eventually won FCC permission to sell WQEX to a commercial broadcaster and in 2002 it thought it had a deal to sell it for $20 million to Diane Sutter, a Pittsburgh native and former head of the Shamrock Broadcasting TV group. The deal collapsed for financial reasons.

However, Sutter went on to purchase WNDS Boston (now WZMY) for $28 million two years later.

Comments (3)

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Meagan Zickuhr says:

November 8, 2010 at 8:32 am

I think Brandon smells Big $$$$ from an upcoming, highly discussed auction!

Drew Borst says:

November 8, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Let’s see if I get this right….
They had a deal to sell for as much as 20 million?
Now they will get 3 mill.which may just pay for all of the legal fees they must have accumulated. Nice job by the “local public television advocates”.

Teri Green says:

November 8, 2010 at 3:45 pm

But why didn’t they sell? It says the deal collapsed? Why perhaps the buyer wasn’t paying cash but in stocks or some other exchange medium worth 20 million at the time, but perhaps the owners thought the trade was overvalued

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