The former Clear Channel radio executive has been named CEO of Local TV LLC, which has been formed by Oak Hill Capital Partners to run the group of stations it’s buying from the New York Times Co.
Oak Hill Capital Partners announced today that it has named former Clear Channel Radio CEO Randy Michaels to be CEO of Local TV, the company formed by Oak Hill to acquire the New York Times Co.’s nine network-affiliated TV stations and related properties in a $575 million deal announced on Jan. 4. The acquisition is expected to close in the first half of this year.
Oak Hill said it intends to build a broader media platform under the leadership of Michaels and Robert “Bobby” Lawrence who has been named Local TV’s president and COO.
“Randy is a visionary and a great motivator,” said J. Taylor Crandall, a managing partner of Oak Hill. “He has a strong track record of outstanding broadcast management, content development and engineering. We are confident that Randy and Bobby, who are long-time partners, will bring innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit to the television industry. We are excited to have them on board.”
“The New York Times properties are high quality, heritage stations that are well positioned for future growth,” said Michaels. “Our most important role is to support our management and employees in creating strong, locally appealing news and content and serving the needs of our advertising customers and communities. We also have our eyes on the rapid changes that are occurring in the television industry. Local TV will be on the leading edge of change as the industry evolves. We are excited to work with the group’s outstanding employees. I am confident they are up for the challenging and creative approach we will bring to this business.”
The properties Michaels will be running comprise nine network-affiliated stations in eight markets:
WTKR Norfolk, Va. (CBS)—DMA 42
WREG Memphis (CBS)—DMA 44
KFOR OklahomaCity (NBC)—DMA 46
KAUT OklahomaCity (MNT)—DMA 46
WNEP Scranton, Pa. (ABC)—DMA 53
WHO DesMoines, Iowa (NBC)—DMA 73
WHNT Huntsville, Ala. (CBS)—DMA 84
WQAD Moline, Ill. (ABC)—DMA 96
KFSM Ft.Smith, Ark. (CBS)—DMA 102
Michaels started his broadcasting career in the 1970s as a DJ in Kansas City and other Midwestern cities. By 1991 he had moved into management at radio group owner Jacor Communications. The company was struggling and in 1993 after Michaels found an investor to pump some money into it, he was put in charge.
After the FCC relaxed its station ownership limits in 1996, Jacor began buying rapidly stations to add to the 25 in its portfolio. In 1998, Jacor merged with Clear Channel Communications and Michaels ran the company’s radio station division—the country’s largest—until 2002.
After leaving Clear Channel, Michaels started RadioActive LLC, which has acquired a number of construction permits for FM stations through FCC auctions.