It took over a year, but the agency finally approved Nexstar’s $87.5 million acquisition of seven Grant stations with one being spun off to minority-owned Marshall Broadcasting. Marshall will own and operate KLJB Quad Cities-Davenport, Iowa, with the help of sales and shared services agreements with Nexstar.
Nexstar Broadcasting Group and Marshall Broadcasting Group today announced that the FCC has approved the license transfer of seven stations they bought from Grant Co. in an $87.5 million deal originally announced in September 2013. Of the seven, six stay with Nexstar and one — KLJB Quad Cities-Davenport, Iowa — is spun off to Marshall.
Nexstar had proposed selling three Fox affiliates to Marshall, a minority-owned enterprise owned by Pluria Marshall Jr., for $58.5 million: KLJB plus KMSS Shreveport, La., and KPEJ Odessa-Midland, Texas. Nexstar is spinning off KMSS and KPEJ from its purchase of CCA, which is still awaiting FCC approval.
Marshall said earlier that it would fund the station acquisitions through borrowings which Nexstar has agreed to guarantee.
Marshall is buying the FCC licenses and significant assets of the station, including program contracts, equipment and real estate interests in connection with studio and tower site. It has shared services and what Marshall called a “small joint sales agreement” with Nexstar.
According to an FCC filing, KLJB now broadcasts a half-hour newscast at 9 p.m. through a contract with the Media General’s NBC affiliate KWQC. When that contract expires at the end of 2015, KLJB will work with Nexstar, expanding the newscast to a full hour and adding other local programming, including a half-hour sports show.
It may also add a two-hour morning show, the filing says.
Marshall and Nexstar “also intend to explore ways in which new additional local programming may be added to KLJB prior to expiration of the KWQC-TV agreement,” it says.
The stations in the Grant transaction:
|WFXR||Roanoke, Va. (DMA 67)||Nexstar||Fox/CW|
|WWCW||Roanoke-Lynchburg, Va. (DMA 67)||Nexstar||CW/Fox|
|WZDX||Huntsville, Ala. (DMA 79)||Nexstar||Fox|
|KGCW||Quad Cities/Burlington, Iowa (DMA 100)||Nexstar||CW|
|KLJB||Quad Cities/Davenport, Iowa (DMA 100)||MBG||Fox|
|WLAX||LaCrosse, Wis. (DMA 128)||Nexstar||Fox|
|WEUX||LaCrosse-Chippewa Falls, Wis. (DMA 128)||Nexstar||Fox|
Perry A. Sook, Nexstar chairman, president and CEO, commented: “As a result of this approval, Nexstar will lead the industry in incubating a new, minority-controlled entrant to broadcasting and bringing additional news, information and specialized programming to markets where MBG will operate.
“The MBG transaction serves as a model to increase media ownership diversity while extending Nexstar’s long-term, well-documented initiatives to serve the public interests and needs of local viewers, hometown businesses, and organizations in the markets where we operate.
“Nexstar’s focus on localism including expanded local news, sports and other programming remains a key element of our broadcast platform and the addition of new minority-oriented public affairs programming complements this strategy. As an established and long-time media executive with extensive broadcast operating experience, Pluria Marshall has the background and skills necessary to serve local interests while maintaining independent operations and programming decisions for the stations.”
Pluria Marshall Jr., president-CEO of MBG, said: “We are delighted to secure the approval from the FCC and the support of Nexstar as we move forward in diversifying the ownership of media assets among minority operators. This is a great day for Americans, minorities, MBG and Nexstar as equality of media asset ownership is as important as equality is in all facets of the country.
“We applaud the FCC for its forward-thinking approach to providing appropriate guidelines and structure that enable new entrants to own, operate and program television stations. We look forward to playing an active role in the new communities in which we will operate while developing minority-oriented public affairs programming that will air on MBG stations and be syndicated to other television stations nationwide.”