CEO: Paper Sale Would Boost Media General

Selling its newspaper operations would improve the overall market value of Richmond-based Media General Inc., the company’s top executive told shareholders at its annual meeting.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Media General 1Q TV Revenue Up 12%

The gains are fueled by increased political revenues and higher retransmission fees.

Media General Sets Amended Credit Agreement

(RTTNews) — Media General Inc. today amended its existing bank credit agreement. The amended agreement provides for an extension of the maturity date of $363 million of bank debt from March 2013 to March 2015, in return for a partial pay down of amounts outstanding. The trigger for the extension will be raising a minimum […]

Media General Mulls Sale Of Newspapers

Spinning off newspapers would help company reduce debt, the company said, noting that it has hired investment banker Peter J. Solomon Co. to advise it.

DMA 14 (TAMPA, FL)

Brad Moses Named President-GM Of WFLA

Media General moves the GM of its WNCN Raleigh, N.C., to head its Tampa NBC affiliate.

EARNINGS CALL

Covenant Crisis Looming At Media General

In its earnings call Thursday, company execs say they are hoping to modify the agreements for its $658 million in debt. If it can’t successfully renegotiate the covenants, Media General could be at risk of bankruptcy. It’s a threat that some analysts have been discussing quietly since last year.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Media General 4Q Revenue Down 12%

The company said the decrease was mostly due to “an expected and significant decrease” in political revenues in an off-election year. When factoring out political, broadcast revenues for the quarter increased nearly 9%.

DMA 103 (MYRTLE BEACH-FLORENCE, SC)

Randy Ingram Named VP-GM of WBTW

Media General moves him from its WRBL Columbus, Ga., to head its Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C., CBS affiliate, succeeding Michael Caplan.

RETRANS WARS – DMA 53 (PROVIDENCE, RI)

WJAR, Verizon Going Down To The Wire

The Media General NBC affiliate posted a notice on its website and on-screen crawl asking customers to contact Verizon before the retransmission consent contract expires at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31. Negotions are continuing.

DMA 14 (TAMPA)

Rumors Flying Over Possible WFLA Layoffs

For several weeks, staffers at NBC affiliate WFLA and the Tampa Tribune have been buzzing about rumors of impending new layoffs at the local outlets owned by Richmond, Va.-based Media General. Last week, emails and buzz indicated layoffs might come Monday. Now, some staffers fear job reductions could come early next week, possibly next Monday.

10 Groups, ConnecTV To Offer 2nd Screen

The partnership will offer a “second screen” app in early 2012, allowing viewers to tap into related content and swap comments with friends watching the same broadcast TV show at the same time. Broadcasters hope the app with lead to increased revenue, greater engagement and better tune-in promotion. Participating station groups include those of Pearl, the joint venture formed last year to pursue the mobile DTV business. They include Belo, Cox, Scripps, Gannett, Hearst Television, Media General, Meredith, Post-Newsweek and Raycom.

DMA 14

Media General Cleans House In Tampa

Media General has replaced three top executives in charge of its Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA, Tampa Tribune and TBO.com as part of a restructuring that will also eventually include layoffs. John Cottingham has been named WFLA  interim general manager.

EARNINGS CALL

Media General CEO Pressed On Finances

During the earnings call following today’s announcement of third-quarter results, CEO Marshall Morton fielded questions on the media company’s loan covenants and refinancing options. One bright spot is that its retrans revenues for the quarter were up 9.3% and Morton noted that the company hopes to conclude negotiations with NBC on a proxy agreement for retrans negotiatons early next month.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Media General Takes 11% 3Q Revenue Hit

The decrease in political and Gulf of Mexico oil spill-related advertising is a big part of the decline of the company’s overall results. When factoring out political, broadcast revenues for the quarter decreased 2.4%. Looking ahead, it says the fourth quarter should bring “a welcome strengthening in automotive advertising” and increased political revenues from early primaries in Florida and South Carolina.

DMA 53

Vic Vetters Named GM Of WJAR Providence

The former group manager of stations in Burlington, Vt., and Utica, N.Y. is tapped by Media General to succeed Lisa Churchville in Rhode Island.

DMA 37

Romine To Lead Media General In Spartanburg

The group owner moves Robert Romine from VP-GM of its Jackson and Hattiesburg, Miss., stations to the same slot at its WSPA (CBS)-WYCW (CW) duopoly in South Carolina.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Media General Posts 2Q Revenue Drop

Despite strong performances by its TV and website operations, the multimedia company posted a 6.8% decrease in revenues and a 58% drop in operating income.

Media General Implements 15-Day Furlough

“The furlough program will cause financial disruption for employees and scheduling challenges for our operations,” CEO Marshall Morton writes in a memo sent to Media General staff this afternoon. “It’s little comfort that we are not alone.”

DMA 14

Tension In Tampa As Layoffs Loom At WFLA

It’s been the talk of the local media scene for weeks: News that management has told employees that layoffs are coming, possibly next week, at Media General’s Florida news platforms, including NBC affiliate WFLA, the Tampa Tribune and TBO.com.

Media General Announces Exec Changes

O. Reid Ashe Jr. is retiring as EVP-COO at the end of the year. George Mahoney, John Schauss and James Woodward all receive promotions.

DIGITAL DMAS

Gannett Tests Hyperlocal Model In Tampa

In a market with fierce competition from a myriad of newspaper and television sites vying to be No. 1, Gannett chooses the sunny Tampa-St. Petersburg market as the online proving ground for its bold experiment in hyperlocal news sites.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Media General 1Q TV Revenue Dips 2.6%

But discounting political ad money, that figure becomes a 13% increase. Local media websites turn in a 20% revenue gain.

Media General Names New Top Tech Exec

The TV station group has tapped Mark Turner, a 10-year company veteran, to succeed Ardell Hill as the chief technologist. He’ll have the title of VP, broadcast services. Hill resigned from Media General earlier this month to join Baran Services Inc. as president of broadcast operations.

Media General Adopts Utah Scientific’s Dot.Box

Three Media General broadcast stations, WBTW Myrtle Beach, S.C.; WJHL Johnson City, Tenn.; and WKRG Mobile, Ala., have implemented Utah Scientific Dot.Box master control and routing to support multichannel operation in the context of playout upgrades to HD. “At Media General, we look for solid equipment that gives us bang for our buck, and that’s […]

DMA 34

WCMH Columbus Rebrands As ‘Here For You’

Media General NBC affiliate WCMH Columbus, Ohio (DMA 34), unveiled a new brand on Jan. 24: “Here for you.” The station said the new brand “is designed to differentiate NBC4 and solidify the media organization as the destination for accurate, relevant and personal content.” WCMH worked with Elevate Thinking and AR&D to conduct research that […]

QUARTERLY REPORT

Media General 4Q TV Revenue Up 29%

Hotly contested political races generated nearly $24 million in fourth quarter  revenues, compared with $3.7 million the year before. Also contributing was a strong automotive sector that powered a 6% gain in local time sales.

CAPEX 2011

Media General’s To-Do List: HD News, Mobile

Ardell Hill, president of broadcast services for Media General, spells out his goals for his 18-station group this year. After completing work on a two-station plant in Augusta, Ga., he intends to introduce HD news into two more markets and equip two or three additional stations for mobile DTV. Other than that, it’s mostly replacing what needs to be replaced.

Media General’s Political Take Tops $41M

Tight political races and a surge in advocate and party spending drive the revenue surge at its 18 stations. The company awards its employees a one-time payment equal to two furlough days, at total of $1.5 million.

Media General Makes Market Appointments

The company, whose management is organized by geographic segments, has named Marilyn L. Hammond president and market leader, North Carolina, effective Jan. 1, 2011; Dan Bradley becomes president/market leader, Ohio/Rhode Island, effective immediately; and James R. Conschafter is now president/market leader, Virginia/Tennessee, succeeding the retiring James A. Zimmerman.

WFLA Tampa Launches Mobile DTV

If you’re a gamer, the appeal of immersing yourself in a virtual world might be obvious. The rest of us, though, still need convincing. The new systems represent “science fiction coming to reality,” said Gary Shapiro, head of the group that runs the annual CES gadget show in Las Vegas, which will showcase VR and related technologies in early January. What’s changed? Screen and graphics technologies have finally gotten good enough to provide a realistic and responsive VR experience.