DMA 53

Citadel Closes On WLNE Providence

The acquisition of ABC affiliate WLNE Providence, R.I., by Citadel Communications LLC was finalized Wednesday. Philip J. Lombardo, owner and CEO of Citadel, said in a statement: “The Federal Communications Commission approved the license transfer quickly and we are thrilled to take ownership. We are already in the process of converting the station to high-definition, a $1 million investment.” HD broadcast master control and production rooms are under construction, and plans are in the works to modify existing sets for local newscasts. The station hopes to be broadcasting in full HD by September.

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Colin MacCourtney says:

June 1, 2011 at 8:30 pm

WLNE (formerly WTEV) has had a troubled 48 year history. As an analog OTA station, its transmitter was located far from those of the other major Providence affiliates, with an additional 90-degree antenna orientation handicap. It also faces spill-in of Boston signals that come from the Newton antenna farm, a mere 40-miles north of downtown Providence.

Lets hope that the outspoken nature of the new owner can help propel WLNE to the success that it deserves.

Hope Yen and Charles Babington says:

June 2, 2011 at 11:54 am

Phil will either hit a home run – he got it for a terrific price – or it will be a continuous treadmill of staff in and out, finding other employment options beside working with Phil and his new GM. Will be interesting to see! Remember, even though the Newton antenna farm is only 40 miles away, signals today are mostly equalized as most viewing is either by satellite or cable. There was a day not too far ago that the Pueblo, CO NBC affiliate, KOAA-TV, Channel 5, was a distant 3rd in Colorado Springs/Pueblo. Today, thanks to their former Channel 30 analog translator atop Cheyenne Mountain, smart aggressive news coverage in CS, and now using Cheyenne Mountain as their main transmitter location (DTV Ch. 42), KOAA many times is #1 in news, and they also have a handicap of being an NBC affiliate! So, Phil CAN do it in Providence, question is – will he, and will he or will he not suffer a stroke in the process? Phil, good luck! I’m betting he’ll be successful.

Andrea Rader says:

June 2, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Phil runs a tight ship and knows what he bought into. He’s spending much less on HD news conversion than 10 or 12 and has instituted other cost-cutting measures. I doubt he has any illusions of making WLNE into a number one (or even number two) station but will manage his margins and turn a reasonable profit – just like Channel 6 did before Global came to town guns a-blazing.

Jeffrey Willerth says:

June 3, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I would put my money on Phil!

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