The increase to $279.3 million comes from higher retrans revenue and increased political ad money. Both local and national revenue were again down by single digits.
To accommodate the hearing impaired, the FCC requires stations to caption news and other live programming that they broadcast with minimal delays between the audio and captions. Some broadcasters would like to go beyond the regulatory mandate and caption all the programming they put on digital media. Automated captioning, helped by artificial intelligence, is closing in on making that a real possibility.
The $500 million in notes are being offered to finance — together with cash on hand and anticipated debt facilities and indebtedness of Gray — the acquisition of Raycom Media.
The broadcaster wants to replace its existing priority revolving credit facility with a new five-year revolving credit facility and amend its current term loan.
Gray President-CEO Hilton Howell: “Our station footprint spans the entire U.S. and nearly all of the most politically contested areas in this cycle. We are therefore uniquely positioned to offer valuable, unbiased insights into how the makeup of Congress might shift this election.”
Cable operators not looking for a boost in broadcaster retrans leverage have told the FCC that Gray Television has not made a case for being allowed to own two of the top four stations in Honolulu. Gray is seeking to retain both stations in its deal to buy another high-rated station in the market. Gray in June struck a deal, subject to FCC approval, to buy Raycom for $3.6 billion.
The station group reups deals for stations in 26 markets that were set to expire at the end of this year.
The Central Texas College Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to move forward in assigning the broadcasting license of KNCT Waco, Texas, to Gray Television for $375,000. The college voted in February to pull the plug on the PBS station rather than move in the FCC’s spectrum repack. Gray also owns Waco CBS affiliate KWTX.
The CBS affiliate is being bought by Marquee Broadcasting, which already owns independent WSST in the market. The sale is the first of nine spin-offs of stations in duopoly markets that Gray pledged to make to clear the way at the FCC for its $3.6 billion aquisition of Raycom.
The Ohio news veteran will lead Gray’s CBS affiliate in Toledo, Ohio.