Gray Television Promotes 3 HR Veterans

Gray Television today announced new positions for three of its human resources experts. The news follows the closing on Monday of its purchase of Quincy Media’s television stations. Maurice Gibson is now vice president, employee relations. In this role, he will continue leading Gray’s Employee Relations team. He has over 25 years of human resources […]

Charity Holman Upped To WVVA Bluefield GM

She is promoted by Gray Television to succeed retiring general manager Frank Brady at the West Virginia NBC affiliate.

Gray Closes Quincy Buy, Spinoffs To Allen Media

Gray now owns TV stations serving 102 television markets that collectively reach 25.4% of U.S. television households, including the No. 1-ranked station in 76 markets. The Byron Allen-owned Allen Media Broadcasting now owns and operates 25 television stations in 19 U.S. markets.

TVN EXECUTIVE SESSION WITH JAN GOLDSTEIN

Gray: Work From Home Won’t Go Away

Jan Goldstein, SVP of human resources at Gray Television, says the 9-to-5 status quo has been permanently disrupted at TV stations by the pandemic. The new world of TV HR has also been reshaped by a deeper commitment to diversity and inclusion, a greater scrutiny of future work-related travel and the blurred lines between employees’ professional and personal lives after 15 months of remote work. Note: This story is available to TVNewsCheck Premium members only. If you would like to upgrade your free TVNewsCheck membership to Premium now, you can visit your Member Home Page, available when you log in at the very top right corner of the site or in the Stay Connected Box that appears in the right column of virtually every page on the site. If you don’t see Member Home, you will need to click Log In or Subscribe.

Allen Media Buys Gray’s WJRT For $70 Million

The sale of the ABC affiliate in Flint-Saginaw, Mich., will pave the way for closing Gray’s purchase of Meredith’s station group. It boosts Allen’s portfolio to 24 stations in 20 markets.

Premion Shows Station Groups The Way To OTT Revenue

Over-the-top advertising has become a surprisingly important business for companies that have been stockpiling television stations. Streaming revenue is letting broadcasters, including Cox Media Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group and the NBC and Fox O&Os, claim a foothold in the technology field and create advanced advertising products for clients enamored of digital and social media.

MVPDs Applaud FCC’s Proposed Gray Fine

The American Television Alliance said the FCC was right to propose fining Gray Television a half-million dollars for violating, as the FCC alleged, the commission’s local ownership rules. The commission, for the first time, has proposed fining an affiliation purchase for resulting in what it said was a violation of its prohibition on owning two of the top-four rated TV stations in a market.

FCC Proposes Fining Gray $518,283

In a first for an acquisition of a network affiliation, the FCC says Gray Television has “willfully and repeatedly” violated the commission’s prohibition on owning two of the top-four rated full-power TV stations in a market. The FCC has proposed a half-million-dollar fine. The commission said that the proposed fine stemmed from its acquisition of the CBS affiliation of KTVA — which went dark — when it already owned NBC affiliate KTUU, both in Anchorage, Alaska.

TVN’S MEDIA JOBS

New Job Openings This Week On TVNewsCheck

New jobs posted to TVNewsCheck’s Media Job Center include openings for a news producer, a photographer/editor, an account executive, an executive producer, an investigative reporter and an affiliate marketing manager.

TVN FOCUS ON JOURNALISM

Reporter Safety A Story That Won’t Go Away

Since attacks on journalists dramatically escalated last year, station groups have tightened safety protocols and veteran reporters are going into potentially volatile environments with escape routes at the ready. Even after 2020’s violent crescendo, journalists must be constantly vigilant against threats that “can happen spontaneously,” says Ruschell Boone, a reporter with NY1.

Gray’s Local News Live Stitches Up National Newscast

TVNewsCheck‘s Michael Depp talks with Shawn Wheat, executive producer of Gray Television’s Local News Live, about the new, digital-only streaming initiative that stitches together news from across Gray’s stations via a small team of anchors and producers.

Gray Forms New Sports And Entertainment Revenue Group

Gray Sports + Entertainment Sales is responsible for revenue generation of Gray-owned media and sponsorship assets. It’s led by Bill Lancaster, currently vice president of sales for both Raycom Sports and RTM Studios. He’s joined by Joel Lewin as senior director of revenue development.

Gray Hands Out Across-The-Board Raises

While many media companies have instituted layoffs (Meredith, Sinclair, CBS, NBC, etc.) or furloughs (Tegna) during the pandemic, Gray Television did not. And while groups like Sinclair have frozen employee raises for 2021, Gray is upping its game by giving its employees raises across the board. The staff was sent an internal memo Wednesday that said they would be getting a bump in pay, by up to 4%.

STREAMING NEWS 2021

Live, Free And Easy Top Viewers’ OTT News Desires

Streaming executives from CBS News Digital, Fox Television Stations, Gray Television and KSL Salt Lake City say live and local content, good UX and quality control are key factors in finding and retaining audiences in the highly competitive OTT space.

Meredith Accepts Gray’s Revised Offer For TV Stations

Meredith Corp said today it has accepted a revised proposal from Gray Television to buy Meredith’s television stations for about $2.83 billion, up from the original deal’s $2.7 billion.

Gray Announces Quarterly Cash Dividend

Gray Television on Tuesday announced that its board of directors authorized a quarterly cash dividend of $0.08 per share of its common stock and Class A common stock. The dividend is payable on June 30 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 15.

Gray Television Ties OTT Retrans To Local News

Gray Television is pushing the FCC to classify over-the-top video providers as MVPDs so they will have to negotiate carriage with stations. That is according to a presentation to FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington and his media adviser, Adam Cassady, by Gray counsel and former FCC commissioner Robert McDowell.

TVN TECH

TVN Tech | A Busy Spring For LPTV’s Repack

Low-power TV stations continue to contend with FCC initiatives to move to new channels and convert to digital operations, while interest grows in using LPTV sticks to transmit in the ATSC 3.0 standard. Above, Comark E-Compact transmitters.

VUit Expands Hyperlocal Programming With Lilly, Gray, Heritage

VUit, a free, ad-supported national streaming service, has added new hyperlocal events in tandem with broadcast partners including Lilly Broadcasting, Heritage Broadcasting and Gray Television. In collaboration with Gray Television, VUit is bringing semi-pro soccer team Iowa Raptors FC to the platform where fans across the country will be able to tune into a double […]

EARNINGS CALL

Gray Sees Strong Pacing As Auto Lags

Gray President Pat LaPlatney: “We continue to believe gambling will be the fastest growing core ad category for us this year. The automotive category is pacing 48% ahead of last year’s horrendous second quarter. It nevertheless continues to lag improvement in other categories, due to the chip supply issue,” he said.

TV STATION M&A

Gray Adds Larger Markets; Boosts Political Footprint

Gray CEO Hilton Howell said today’s $2.7 billion purchase of Meredith’s stations fits with Gray’s strategy of adding stations in key states for heavy political ad spending.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Gray 1Q Broadcast Revenue Up 2%

It says the increase from a year ago to $544 million was driven by combined local and national broadcast advertising revenue of $260 million and retransmission revenue of $247 million.

Gray Buying Meredith Local Media For $2.7 Billion

It’s getting 17 stations in 12 markets and will spin off its Flint, Mich., ABC affiliate WJRT since it’s acquiring CBS affil WNEM there. With a combined net revenue exceeding $3.1 billion on a blended 2019-20 basis, Gray said its acquisition of Meredith’s television stations will transform Gray into the nation’s second largest television broadcaster.

Gray Spins Off 10 Stations To Allen Media For $380 Million

The sale follows Gray’s purchase earlier this year of Quincy Media and comprises stations in markets in which Gray already owns stations.

How To Build And Expand Streaming News Audiences

A panel at TVNewsCheck’s June 9 virtual conference, Streaming News 2021, will explore strategies for OTT audience development with executives from Gray Television, CBS News Digital, Fox Television Stations and KSL Salt Lake City. Register here.

TVN VIRTUAL CONFERENCE

Streaming News 2021: Optimizing Audience, Rev

A TVNewsCheck virtual conference on June 9 will explore strategies for building audiences and monetizing on streaming services featuring executives from CBS News Digital, Fox Owned Stations, Gray Television, E.W. Scripps, CBC, Cox Media Group, Disney/ABC and KSL Salt Lake City. Register here.

FCC Denies Gray Retrans Complaint Against Frontier Communications

The FCC has denied Gray Television’s retransmission consent complaint against Frontier Communications, saying Frontier did not violate the agency’s good-faith standards, its totality of circumstances test or its notice requirements.

How To Sell Local OTT Advertising

Erin Overstreet, VP of digital sales at Gray Television, explains how to frame the advantages of OTT advertising for local clients, the need to break down broadcast and digital sales silos and the importance of simplicity in the process. This is the latest installment of How To, a TVNewsCheck original video series that solicits innovative, practical and actionable advice from TV experts in news, technology, sales and marketing.

Gray TV Building ‘Studio City’ Outside Atlanta

Gray Television has just acquired a 127-acre piece of land that it plans to convert into a mixed-use “Studio City” property on the outskirts of Atlanta. The Doraville Downtown Development Authority voted to transfer the property where a General Motors Plant is to be converted into a mixed-use property that will feature 10 TV and movie studios, offices, retail spaces, apartments, townhomes and a hotel. Gray TV is expected to use some of the studios for its own productions, but it will also rent space to other studios. It is estimated that filming can begin taking place at these new studios in 2022.

TVN TECH

TVN Tech | New Tech Improves News Sharing, Collaboration

Pandemic-impacted newsrooms are increasingly embracing tools that allow more content sharing and collaboration from the field and between stations with the cloud playing an ever-larger role in the remote workflows involved. Above, Bridget Naso, news anchor for KNSD San Diego, uses Dejero’s LivePlus Mobile app on an iPhone to broadcast live from home during the pandemic.

TVN FOCUS ON ADVERTISING

TVN Focus On Advertising | Sports Betting Skyrockets For Broadcasters

Sports wagering has invigorated station groups’ core revenue, climbing to the second-biggest ad sales category for many of them and angling to knock automotive from its top spot in the next few years. Note: This story is available to TVNewsCheck Premium members only. If you would like to upgrade your free TVNewsCheck membership to Premium now, you can visit your Member Home Page, available when you log in at the very top right corner of the site or in the Stay Connected Box that appears in the right column of virtually every page on the site. If you don’t see Member Home, you will need to click Log In or Subscribe.

Gray Chief Hilton Howell Jr.’s Pay Drops 27% To $6.5M In 2020

Gray Television said CEO Hilton H. Howell Jr.’s total compensation fell 27% to $8.89 million in 2020, the company reported. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gray reported that Howell’s salary rose slightly to $1.23 million, but he received small stock awards and non-equity incentive plan compensation. President and co-CEO Pat LaPlatney’s compensation rose 8% to $4.13 million.

Gray Television Places Bet On Envy Gaming

The station group is leading a group of investors by putting $28.5 million into a $40 million round for the Texas-based firm in the fast-growing segment of sports and entertainment.

Gray’s Tupelo Honey Production Company Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Emmy Award-winning production company Tupelo Honey celebrates the 25th anniversary of its founding this month. In March 1996, Cary Glotzer started the boutique production services company and named it after Tupelo, Miss., the hometown of Traci Duke, Cary’s wife. Over the past 25 years, Tupelo Honey has created or co-created tens of thousands of hours of live and post-produced content and […]

EARNINGS CALL

Gray Expects Big Payoff From Gambling Ads

Gray President-Co-CEO Pat LaPlatney told analysts today: “Our pacings, which are not necessarily a great predictor of future revenue, are still very encouraging because the gambling category is now pointing to a more than 250% increase over 2020.”

QUARTERLY REPORT

Gray 4Q Broadcast Revenue Climbs 38%

It says the increase from a year ago to $763 million was driven by combined local and national broadcast advertising revenue of $284 million, political advertising revenue of $245 million and retransmission revenue of $217 million.

TVN FOCUS ON DIGITAL

TVN Focus On Digital | TV Station CMSs Streamline And Simplify

Content management systems are the workhorses of local stations’ digital operations. Executives from Tegna, NBCU, CBS, Gray, Nexstar and Fox have discovered that user simplicity and integrations for multiplatform distribution have become essential attributes. Note: This story is available to TVNewsCheck Premium members only. If you would like to upgrade your free TVNewsCheck membership to Premium now, you can visit your Member Home Page, available when you log in at the very top right corner of the site or in the Stay Connected Box that appears in the right column of virtually every page on the site. If you don’t see Member Home, you will need to click Log In or Subscribe.

Gray Buying Quincy Media For $925 Million

Upon closing the transaction, Gray will own television stations serving 102 television markets that collectively reach 25.4% of U.S. television households.Gray said it will divest Quincy’s stations in the following markets in which Gray also owns a full-power television station: Tucson, Arizona; Madison, Wis.; Paducah-Harrisburg, Ky.-Ill.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; La Crosse-Eau Claire, Wis.; and Wausau-Stevens Point, Wis.

TVN FOCUS ON ADVERTISING

TVN Focus On Advertising | Stations Project Core Ads To Rise In 2021

Sales and research executives from CBS Television Stations, Gray Television and BIA said they see a sharp rise in core revenue ahead this year, while UM Worldwide threw some colder water on that prediction in a TVNewsCheck webinar on spot TV last week. The executives also tackled the iffy near-time prospects of fully-functional automated buying and selling and the growing revenue prospects of local streaming. Above, Julio Marenghi, president, advertising sales at CBS Television Stations said that the CBS owned stations are seeing more money from OTT business extensions — “There’s definitely more money than there was a year ago” — but it’s not yet significant.

Gray Goes Big To Build A Healthier America

Bridging the Great Health Divide is an ambitious new experiment in collaborative journalism that Gray Television plans to start rolling out in March. Supported by $200,000 from the Google News Initiative, its multiplatform coverage will take a fresh look at the longtime health disparities in both Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta, two sprawling regions where health indicators and outcomes are far worse than the national average — and where the group has more than 25 TV stations serving affected communities.