Ramar Communications Sells Lubbock Stations

KJTV and a translator go to SagamoreHill Broadcasting, while KLCW, KMYL-LD and KXTQ go to Gray Television.

Gray Sets Upsizing, Pricing Of $800 Million Of Senior Notes

Gray Television said Thursday (Oct. 8) that it has priced its private offering of $800 million aggregate principal amount of 4.750% senior notes due 2030, an increase of $250 million over its previously announced offering size. The notes were priced at par. The offering of the notes is expected to close on Oct. 19, subject […]

Optimizing Multiplatform Audiences At TV2025

Executives from Tegna, Gray Television and E.W. Scripps will look at how to convert their surging pandemic audiences into longer-term viewers on their digital and broadcast platforms at TVNewsCheck’s TV2025: Monetizing the Future virtual event later this month. Register here.

Gray Announces Private Offering Of $550M Of Senior Notes

Gray Television said Thursday that it is offering of $550 million aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2030, the completion of which is subject to market conditions. The notes will be the company’s senior unsecured obligations and “will be guaranteed, jointly and severally, by each existing and future restricted subsidiary of Gray that guarantees […]

TVN’S OTT NEWS SUMMIT 2020

Pandemic Proves OTT Workflow Resiliency For News

Executives from CNN, Sinclair, Fox Television Stations and Gray Television say COVID-19 has tested the capacities of their streaming workflows and found them even more adaptable and robust than they imagined.

Study: Media Mergers Boost Local News

One of the knocks on broadcast mergers is that consolidation in ownership leads to consolidated newsrooms and a reduction in investment in news. But a new Gray Television-backed study from economist Mark Fratrik of Gray’s 93 TV markets found that in markets where stations were permitted to join forces, as was the case with Gray’s 2018 purchase of Raycom Stations, their news output increased “far more” than markets without consolidation.

MARKET SHARE

Gray TV Stations’ Response To Louisiana’s Strongest Hurricane

TVN NEWSROOM INNOVATORS

TVN’s Newsroom Innovators | Gray Builds InvestigateTV Into An OTT Brand

InvestigateTV, Gray Television’s national investigative unit, has been producing dozens of in-depth pieces airing across its stations and on an OTT channel dedicated to its work. Fronted by WVUE anchor Lee Zurik in New Orleans (above), its pieces are making an impact even in markets where Gray doesn’t have a station.

Swirl Films, Gray TV Expand Partnership

Independent TV and urban film production company Swirl Films and Gray Television unveiled an expanded relationship that provides Swirl Films with added resources and platforms upon which to continue growing its product and service offerings. As part of the new relationship, Swirl Films and Gray’s Tupelo Honey video production company have deepened their prior working […]

TVN’S MEDIA JOBS

Off-Camera Multimedia Journalist Opening In Washington

New jobs posted to TVNewsCheck’s Media Job Center include an opening for an off-camera multimedia journalist at Gray Television’s Washington news bureau.

Programming For Elections At OTT News Summit

News leaders from CNN, ABC News, E.W. Scripps, Gray Television and Yahoo Finance will explore the programming options enabled by the 2020 election at TVNewsCheck’s virtual event on Sept. 23. Register here.

DMA 151: ANCHORAGE, AK

Questions Remain After GCI Sells KTVI

The future is uncertain for many employees of Anchorage CBS affiliate KTVA, after the television station’s owner, telecommunications company GCI, announced in late July that it’s getting out of the broadcast television business. GCI has sold most of KTVA’s assets to Gray Television, which already owns KTVA’s main local competitor, NBC affiliate KTUU, the top station in the market.

EARNINGS CALL

Gray Employees Thanked For Taking A Bullet

“Their job was to focus on their responsibilities, their journalism, our communities and our clients — and it has paid off,” said Hilton Howell, Gray Television chairman-CEO, adding: “Our [second quarter] business slowed less than we feared and it recovered faster than we’d hoped.”

QUARTERLY REPORT

Gray 2Q Revenue Shrinks 11%

It says the decrease to $451 million is due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which it says “significantly impacted our revenues and results for the second quarter and first half of 2020. Nevertheless, despite these macroeconomic challenges, over the first half of this year, we increased our cash on hand by $167 million and repurchased $49 million of our common stock.”

TVN FOCUS ON JOURNALISM

TVN Focus On Journalism | Local TV Plans Reduced Convention Presence

Station groups say they will send fewer correspondents to August’s largely virtualized political conventions and centralize their reporting resources. At the same time, they see local coverage opportunities of the conventions expanding, largely down to use of the remote production technology they’ve already been mastering for months during the pandemic.

TVN TECH

TVN Tech | Cloud-Based Sales Workflows Still Evolving

TV salespeople have been working from home since March, but the technology necessary for the entire sales workflow to be cloud-based is still developing. Both WideOrbit and Imagine Communications are transitioning existing products to the cloud and developing new cloud-based software.

TVN TECH

TVN Tech | Pandemic Speeds Cloud Desktop Adoption

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has led stations to remotely create and produce broadcast content like never before. Considerations about a cloud or remote desktop service center on four key factors: Functionality, proximity to a data center, speed and corporate security requirements. Above, the SplashTop application Gray uses affords remote desktop access. The producer is working from home with multiple monitors producing/directing a newscast via a SplashTop connection to computers at the station. Using SplashTop, she is running Ross Remote Overdrive on the large monitor to her left, a multi-viewer video wall on the smaller monitor to her left and ENPS on the laptop in front of her. From her perspective, it feels like those applications are installed locally on her computer/screens at her house.

DMAS 82 & 97

Gray Names Two New General Managers

Lori Bruffett is promoted to lead KBTX Waco-Temple-Bryan, Texas, while Scott Sanders is moved from Columbia, S.C., to head WMBF Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C.

TVN TECH

TVN Tech | ‘No Going Back’ To Pre-COVID Workflows

A TVNewsCheck webinar featuring top engineers from Fox, Tegna and Gray found stations are settling well into their COVID-19-induced remote workflows. Some of those workflows, including IP contribution, cloud-based collaboration and production automation, are likely to stay even after the pandemic subsides. “There’s no going back to what it was before this started,” says Tegna’s Robert Lydick.

DMA 207: JUNEAU, AK

Gray Buys Two Stations In Alaska

GCI subsidiary Denali Media Holdings has announced the sale of its NBC affiliates in southeast Alaska — KATH-LD Juneau and KSCT-LP Sitka — to Gray Television. Denali Media Holdings was established in 2012 and also owns KTVA (CBS) in Anchorage along with three CBS stations in Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan.

Gray To Supremes: FCC Got Dereg Right

Gray Television has filed an amicus brief at the Supreme Court backing the FCC’s appeal of a federal court’s smackdown of its broadcast deregulation decision. Gray told the court it was imperative that it hear the FCC appeal, reverse the Third Circuit, and allow the FCC’s “media modernization” to proceed.

Gray Appoints Four New General Managers

It has new leadership at WAFF Huntsville, Ala.; KKTV Colorado Springs; WDAM Hattiesburg, Miss.; and WTOK Meridian, Miss.

EXECUTIVE SESSION WITH PAT LAPLATNEY

TVN Executive Session | Gray: ‘It’s Going To Be A Tough Year’

Pat LaPlatney, Co-CEO of Gray Television, says there’s “no question” it will be a hard quarter and year ahead for ad sales, but there are signs of hope in new and returning advertisers, along with new categories, later this spring.

WORKING LUNCH WEBINAR

TVN To Present: At-Home Production And The Future Of News Workflow

The coronavirus pandemic forced television news operations to produce almost entirely from producers’ and anchors’ homes. During a TVNewsCheck Working Lunch Webinar, set for May 28 at 1 p.m. ET, leading television engineering and operations executives will talk about what they’ve learned while facilitating this massive shift in workflow and the long-term changes likely to flow from it. Above, l-r: Speakers Richard Friedel, Fox Television Stations; Clint Moore, Gray Television; and Robert Lydick, Tegna Media.

EARNINGS CALL

Gray Adding New Advertisers In Pandemic

After reporting local advertising down 6% in the first quarter, with the COVID plunge hitting in March, Gray is not offering formal guidance for the current quarter. However, CFO Jim Ryan told analysts that as states begin to lift restrictions, business should improve.

Gray 1Q Broadcast Rev Grows 7%

The increase to $515 million is due to higher retrans and political advertising money. It says the effects of the coronavirus has resulted in “reduction in demand for advertising across our television stations and digital platforms [and] a very significant reduction in demand in the market for the video production of sporting and other events by our production companies.”

TVN TECH

TVN Tech | Virus Tested, Remote Workflows Eye Permanence

Coronavirus-necessitated remote workflows have spun up quickly and reliably to allow TV stations to keep broadcasting during the pandemic. There’s reason to believe they’ll stick around after the crisis subsides. Above: Avid Edit On Demand provides a full virtual production environment in the cloud, including Media Composer software and Avid NEXIS storage. (Source: Avid)

Gray Switches To Virtual Annual Meeting

The now virtual annual meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 6, at 11:30 a.m. ET. Shareholders of record at the close of business on March 9 are eligible to attend, participate in and vote.

Gray Growth Results In Management Changes

CEO Hilton Howell: “It is now time for Gray to improve its management structure to better reflect the company that we have become and better enable our stations and businesses to serve their viewers and customers. We are thrilled to promote several excellent individuals who have made significant and effective contributions to our success and who will be critical to the continued growth of Gray Television for the long-term.”

Gray Stations Create Online Directory To Promote Essential Local Companies

Gray Television has launched a new campaign to promote essential local businesses that remain open for customers in the midst of state and local restrictions. About four dozen of Gray’s stations have launched their own interactive, online local business directories in the past two weeks featuring approximately 4,600 companies who collectively employ many thousands of […]

Gray Television: No Cuts In Pay Or Benefits

CEO Hilton Howell tells employees: “We do not believe that we will need to furlough employees; lay off employees; reduce hourly or salary compensation levels; nor suspend, delay or reduce contributions to employees’ 401(k)s.”

Gray To Launch Latenight Virus Newscast

Gray Television is launching a late night newscast focusing on the coronavirus pandemic, with Greta Van Susteren and Lee Zurik hosting. Full Court Press Now will launch on Monday across Gray’s stations in 93 markets. The show will draw on reporting from Gray’s newsrooms in local markets.

MARKET SHARE

WVUE New Orleans Airing Concert Series Across Louisiana

A New Way To Track Coronavirus

Gray’s InvestigateTV brings the pandemic story home, creating an impressive tool — an interactive COVID-19 Tracker that collects positive test results in every single county in the United States, updates the data every day, and makes the information easily accessible. Just mouse over or search the map, find your county, and you can see how many cases per capita have cropped up there.

Gray To Distribute Reusable Masks To Employees

The masks will be available for free to all Gray employees, but the company wants the first delivery of cloth masks reserved for those full-time and part-time employees who continue to work in a Gray facility or out in the field.

DMAS 86 & 171

Gray Names GMs In Shreveport, Dothan

The station group promotes Sacha Purciful and Robby Thomas to oversee KSLA Shreveport, La., and WTVY-WRGX Dothan, Ala., respectively.

Gray Withdraws Tegna Offer Amid Virus Rout

Gray Television has withdrawn its offer to acquire larger peer Tegna because of concerns about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on U.S. regional TV station operators, people familiar with the matter said. Gray had offered to buy Tegna for about $8.5 billion, including debt, Reuters reported earlier this month. After Gray’s stock tumbled on the news and concerns about the coronavirus pandemic’s financial impact became widespread, the Atlanta-based company decided this was not the time to pursue the transformative acquisition, one of the sources said.

Tegna Suitors Will Have To Spin Off Stations

The race to acquire TV station owner Tegna Inc. hinges not just on the price suitors are willing to pay, but also on how much they may give up in terms of assets to win regulatory approval, people familiar with the matter said. All three bidders own TV stations that regulators would require to be divested because of the potential overlap, the sources added.

Syncbak Partners With Gray To Carry Iditarod On SBTV Streaming Platform

Syncbak, a platform for live local OTT, on Friday announced it will stream long-time station partner KTUU Anchorage’s coverage of the Iditarod Sled Dog race on its streaming platform, SBTV. This marks the third consecutive year that Gray Television’s NBC affiliate KTUU has offered out-of-market audiences across the nation an exclusive opportunity to view the […]

Report: Gray In $8.5B Bid To Acquire Tegna

Gray Television has made an offer to acquire larger peer Tegna Inc for approximately $8.5 billion, including debt, people familiar with the matter said on Friday. A successful bid by Gray would significantly expand its footprint in several TV markets. It underscores the pressure Gray and other companies in the TV station industry are under to gain scale and more pricing power with advertisers and the major networks.