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.

Gray CEO: TV Stocks Should Be ‘Safe Haven’

“We are bullish about political advertising revenue prospects for 2020 and are off to a fine start this year,” Hilton Howell told analysts today. Gray is increasing its political guidance for 2020 to $250 million-$275 million, well ahead of the company’s record of $235 million in 2018. It also reported sequential improvement in auto advertising for 4Q and strength in the legal, medical and financial ad categories.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Gray 4Q Pro Forma Broadcast Rev Climbs

The increase to $554 million is boosted by retrans gains and “significantly” higher-than-expected political ad money.

Tegna And Gray Form OTT Partnership

Gray will acquire a minority ownership interest in Tegna’s Premion and resell Premion in all of Gray’s 93 television markets.

WEEK ENDING FEB. 24

Station Trading Roundup: 1 Deal, $175,000

The purchase of WLNM-LD Lansing, Mich., by Gray Television tops the latest list of TV station transactions submitted to the FCC for its approval, according to BIA Advisory Services.

TVN FOCUS ON SALES

TVN Focus On Advertising | Local OTT Ad Sales Gaining Traction

Local broadcasters are making headway getting advertisers on board with their nascent OTT platforms, drawn by OTT’s targetability and sponsored content opportunities. However, obstacles still abound from finding a common sales language for the platform to a lack of overall standards and major issues with the ad stack. Above: KSL Salt Lake City put together a six-part series called Ski Lessons with Andy Phillips, who is a local Olympian skier. The series was sponsored by car dealers along with a ski resort and Ski Utah. (Source: KSL)

EXECUTIVE SESSION WITH GRETA VAN SUSTEREN

TVN’s Executive Session | Van Susteren’s Strategy: Local And Bipartisan

After years on cable news, Greta Van Susteren is now on broadcast with her Gray Television weekly half-hour Full Court Press. She talks about its commitment to real political balance and how its grounding in broadcasting rather than cable just might give her a leg up when the scramble for interviews begins in earnest in Iowa and in the campaigns beyond.

Corporate Changes At Gray Television

The station group’s SVP of local media, Brad Streit, is retiring and will be succeeded by WVUE GM Tim Ingram.

Gray Renews, Expands Deal With Comscore

The group owner is now using Comscore’s local TV currency exclusively in 83 of its 93 markets.

TVN FOCUS ON CES 2020

TVN Tech | At CES, NextGen TV’s Coming Out Party

Next week’s CES in Las Vegas will once again take over the Strip with a sprawling, frenetic glimpse into tomorrow’s consumer technology. This time, NextGen TV will make its show floor debut, and hopes are high consumers will notice.

Gray To Deliver Holiday Shows Via Syncbak

The programming will include original content produced locally by Gray’s WKYT Lexington, Ky.; WDTV-WVFX Clarksburg, W. Va.; WSAW Wausau, Wis.; WMTV Madison, Wis.; and KCRG Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The offerings will include Gray Television’s first direct-to-OTT broadcast.

TVN’S NEWSTECHFORUM

Feeding The Voracious Multiplatform Beast

As television news broadcasters move to expand their reach into web, mobile and OTT platforms, they are adopting a number of tools and strategies including more automation, better collaboration tools and, in some cases, internal software development. L-r: Gray’s Mike Fass, Avid’s Ray Thompson, Fox’s Emily Stone and ABC’s Fabian Westerwelle. (Photo: Wendy Moger-Bross)

Circle Diginet Launches Jan. 1 With 16 Originals

The country music/lifestyle channel will debut in more than 50% of U.S. TV households on stations from Gray and CBS. A companion OTT premium service is slotted to launch in late spring 2020.

TVN TECH

TVN Tech | Stations Embrace Advances In Remote Production

News organizations are increasingly using breakthroughs in technology to allow journalists to remotely, yet quickly, deliver more content over multiple platforms. The advances range from improved cellular networks that speed transmission of content from the field to the newsroom and cameras capable of streaming and providing remote video, to a host of tools available for journalists to remotely edit and produce content while collaborating with their newsrooms. Above, Grass Valley’s new GV Alyve, released at this year’s IBC Show, gives reporters a “virtual control room in the cloud” for production and distribution of video and livestream content. (Source: Grass Valley)

EARNINGS CALL

Gray Television Wants Respect From Wall Street

After the company reported third quarter results at the high end of its guidance to Wall Street today, the stock price opened at $18.15 and stayed above $18 for most of the day’s trading. Political advertising has outpaced expectations for Gray every quarter this year, despite the lack of a national election.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Gray 3Q Pro Forma Revenue Down 5%

An increase in retransmission consent revenue of $26 million, or 15%, to $196 million couldn’t quite offset lower advertising dollars. The company also authorizes a $150 million share repurchase.

TVN’S TV2020 CONFERENCE

Broadcasters Stress Need For Revenue Diversity

Broadcasters have natural revenue opportunities in business lines like OTT, podcasting and ATSC 3.0, said executives from Sinclair, E.W. Scripps, Gray and Bonneville Salt Lake at TVNewsCheck’s TV2020 conference.

TV Broadcasters, Syncbak Create OTT Innovation Alliance

Broadcast groups Morgan Murphy Media, Gray Television, Heritage Broadcasting and independent WFMZ Allentown, Pa., have formed the OTT Innovation Alliance, which plans to “create innovative ways to reach in- and out-of-market viewers using the power of OTT.” In partnership with Syncbak, a provider of live local OTT, the OTT Innovation Alliance plans to focus on […]

New Country Multiplatform Network From Gray, Opry Entertainment Group To be Named Circle

Opry Entertainment Group and Gray Television today announced their forthcoming media network dedicated to the country music lifestyle experience will be called Circle. As they explained the name: “Circle is a 360-degree media platform that will bring viewers into country music’s inner circle. The name is also a nod to the iconic wooden circle on the […]

Gray, Cox, Adopt Arc Publishing Platform

With these additions, Arc greatly expands its work in the broadcast industry, powering digital experiences and content creation for more than 200 broadcast stations in the U.S and Europe.