Raycom will buy Calkins’ WWSB Sarasota and WTXL Tallahassee, both Florida, while Raycom duopoly partner American Spirit Media will buy WAAY Huntsville, Ala., which will presumably be operated in tandem with Raycom’s Huntsville NBC affiliate, WAFF. “We came to this decision reluctantly and after a long period of deliberation,” Calkins CEO Mark Contreras says in a memo to employees.
Calkins Media is exiting the broadcast TV business, having agreed to sell its three small-market ABC affiliates to Raycom Media and its duopoly partner, according to a memo to station staffers from Calkins CEO Mark Contreras obtained by TVNewsCheck.
Under the agreement, Raycom will buy Calkins Florida stations, WWSB Sarasota and WTXL Tallahassee. American Spirit Media will buy WAAY Huntsville, Ala., which will presumably be operated in tandem with Raycom’s NBC affiliate in Huntsville, WAFF.
The memo did not mention a sale price. FCC filings that would include the price have not yet been made.
“We came to this decision reluctantly and after a long period of deliberation,” Contreras says in the memo. “It has become clear to us that size and scale will matter more in the long term for local broadcasters.”
“In Raycom, we have found a steward that shares our commitment to community and that has a strong entrepreneurial culture. Most importantly to us, we believe there will be expanded opportunities for employees working within a larger group of committed broadcasters.”
The memo says that Contreras, WWSB GM Jeff Benninghoff and Raycom COO Pat LaPlatney will be visiting the stations today to explain the deal and how it affects station employees.