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.

Frontier To FCC: Gray Retrans Impasse is About Value Of Signal

Frontier has told the FCC that its beef with Gray Television is over the value of the TV signal and that Gray’s retransmission consent complaint against Frontier “lacks any basis in fact or law.” Gray formally complained to the FCC that Frontier was not negotiating in good faith and did not give is customers “as soon as possible” notice of a potential blackout, both of which are required under FCC rules.

Gray TV Taps Jon Decker For Senior National Editor And White House Correspondent.

Mediacom, Gray TV Reach Retrans Pact

Mediacom Communications dodged a big retrans bullet on Monday, reaching a carriage agreement with Gray Television that involved stations in more than 35 markets across the country. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Florida Rep. Writes Pai Over Gray-Frontier Retrans Blackout

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) has written FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to stick up for Gray Television’s WWSB Sarasota, Fla., in a retrans fight with Frontier Cable. Citing a failure to reach a retrans agreement with Frontier, WWSB used some in-house news reporting last week to relay that it had been pulled from the cable system Friday (Dec. 18) after WWSB offered to keep the signal on at current terms while they continued to negotiate.

TVN’s NewsTECHForum: The Story In Videos

Here are the complete videos and story links for TVNewsCheck’s NewsTECHForum, featuring a keynote interview with veteran news producer David Bohrman and news and technology leaders from ABC News, Hearst, Tegna, NBCU Owned Television Stations, CBS Owned Stations, ABC Owned Stations, Gray Television, Graham Media, Sinclair, E.W. Scripps, Meredith, BBC, AJ+ and more.

TVN’S NEWSTECHFORUM 2020

NTF 2020 | TV Reporters Grapple With Heightened Hostility On Social

Social media experts at newsrooms including those of Gray, Fox, Graham and Scripps stations and national outlet Newsy says viewers have ramped up aggressive attacks on their social posts this year. At TVNewsCheck’s NewsTECHForum on Dec. 18, they said a more polarized audience has heightened their need to be more circumspect on social and to diffuse often hostile salvos they receive.

Gray TV Tops $400M In 2020 Political Ad Rev

And there’s more to come from the two run-off election races for U.S. Senate seats in Georgia that take place Jan. 5.

Gray Television Launches First NextGen TV Station

WNXG Tallahassee, Fla., simulcasts five programming services that Gray broadcasts in the market on its ATSC 1.0 full-power television channels WCTV and WFXU: CBS, Me/My, Circle, Ion and Justice.

Gray Expands Comscore Ratings Deal

The group owner is now using Comscore local TV currency exclusively in 87 of its 94 markets.

TVN FOCUS ON NEWS TECH

TVN Focus | Stations, Vendors Meet Challenge Of Nonstop News

News and technology executives from Fox Television Stations, Graham Media, Gray Television, Avid and Latakoo have embraced new technologies and workflows in a year of huge stories and largely remote production. They’re going to need to maintain that embrace while producing even more content in 2021, they said at a TVNewsCheck webinar last week.

News’ Digital And Streaming Storytelling Evolution At NewsTECHForum

Executives and editors from the BBC, CNN, ABC Owned Stations and Gray Television will look at how their storytelling on digital platforms will change in 2021 amid ongoing remote production and emerging technology at TVNewsCheck’s virtual NewsTECHForum on Dec. 16. Register here.

Gray Files Supreme Court Brief Supporting Modernized TV Station Ownership Rules

Gray’s brief argues that the FCC’s modernized rules should finally be allowed to take effect because the agency issued them in full compliance with its obligations under Section 202(h) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

TVN Webinar To Address Managing The Never-Ending News Cycle In A Changing Media Environment

A pair of TV station GMs will join the head of news services for Gray Media Group and two technology experts to examine how local TV news organizations are contending with growing demand for local news in an increasingly competitive media ecosystem. Set for Dec. 3 at 1 p.m. ET, the webinar will feature speakers (clockwise from left): Bob Ellis, VP-GM, WJXT-WCWJ Jacksonville, Fla.; Lew Leone, SVP-GM, WNYW-WWOR New York; James Finch, director of news services at Gray Television; Craig Wilson, product evangelist for broadcast and media enterprise at Avid; moderator Glen Dickson, contributing editor, TVNewsCheck; and Paul Adrian, CEO and co-founder of Latakoo. Register here. 

 

EARNINGS CALL

Gray’s Political Haul Just Kept Growing

“We began the year predicting our political revenues would top our all-time record from 2018 of $234 million on a same-station basis,” CEO Hilton Howell said today. “Now, as we all sit and digest the ongoing election process, and the results of Tuesday’s election, it appears that our political revenues will significantly exceed $380 million.”

TVN TECH

TVN Tech | Long On Benefits, UGC Loses Its Friction

New tools are making it easier for viewers to submit video — and transfer rights — to TV stations. Groups like Gray and Tegna say simplified UGC has boosted engagement, and expanded coverage without increasing staff. Above, user-generated content appeared throughout Gray Television’s WECT Wilmington, N.C.’s coverage of the Surf City Fire story last year. (Source: Jacob Robert Younce)

QUARTERLY REPORT

Gray 3Q Revenue Climbs 17%

It says the increase from a year ago to $604 million was driven by a 482% jump in political advertising and 11% higher retrans revenue.

TVN’S TV2025

Stations ‘In A Groove’ With Remote Workflows

Executives from ABC Owned Stations, Hearst, ABC News, Gray Television, NBCU Owned Stations and Bitcentral say seven months into the pandemic, remote workflows are running smoothly and more permanent changes to their operations are pulling into focus. Read the story and/or watch the full video above.

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.