TVNewsCheck has changed the methodology of its annual TV station group rankings prepared by BIA/Kelsey, switching from basing the list on U.S. market coverage to revenue. In 2011 that means the top five comprise Fox Television Stations, CBS, NBC and ABC and Tribune.
Fox Is TV’s New Station Group Leader
A new company resides atop TVNewsCheck‘s annual Top 30 ranking of TVstation groups: Fox Television Stations.
And the reason has nothing to do with what Fox has done or hasn’t done or, for that matter, what the 29 other companies on the roster have done or haven’t done. It has to do with our ranking criterion.
Instead of ranking the groups by their coverage of the 115 million TV households as we have in the past, we are ranking them this year by estimates of their 2011 advertising revenue supplied through an exclusive arrangement with BIA/Kelsey.
BIA/Kelsey, an investment and research firm based in Chantilly, Va., is the broadcasting industry’s premier scorekeeper. It tracks stations groups and what each owns. Using information from individual stations and information about markets, as well as historical information, it generates station and market ad revenue estimates. It checks its estimates against whatever public information is available.
The estimates do not include other revenue from sources like retransmission consent fees, websites and other digital ventures.
So, Fox tops the chart with $1.6 billion last year. It’s followed by the groups of the other major broadcast networks: CBS ($1.5 billion), NBC ($1.2 billion) and ABC ($1 billion). By virtue of its major market outlets, Tribune rounds out the top five, but, at $773 million, doesn’t qualify for the exclusive Billion Dollar Club.
It’s BIA/Kelsey’s practice to include in a group’s portfolio station acquisitions as soon as the deals are announced. So, No. 6 Sinclair’s revenue — $732 million — includes that which came with its purchase of the Four Points (announced last September) and Freedom (announced in November) groups.
Likewise, Scripps’ status rose due to its purchase of the McGraw-Hill stations (last October). It stands at No. 14.
The switch to ranking the stations by revenue is a major one. Several groups that appeared prominently in the ranking in the past have disappeared — most notably Ion Media. With 60 stations in 56 markets, including most of the top 25, it was the old No. 1. Ion’s mix of mostly off-network programming does not generate enough ratings or revenue to keep it on the chart.
Other prominent non-returnees were the religious groups Trinity Broadcasting and Daystar, which own many stations and have substantial coverage but no conventional ad revenue.
NBCUniversal would have ranked No. 2 on the chart, if we had combined its NBC O&Os and Telemundo stations. But because they have separate management, we opted to treat them separately. Telemundo, with $254 million in revenue, is No. 21.
BIA/Kelsey ranks Mission Broadcasting and Cunningham Broadcasting as distinct groups with distinct ownership. But because they function essentially as subsidiaries of Nexstar and Sinclair, respectively, we combined their revenue with those of their “parent” companies.
BIA/Kelsey also handles Local TV LLC and FoxCo Acquisitions as separate companies. But we chose to combine them because they are both owned by Oak Hill Capital Partners and have common management. At $430 million, Local TV LLC/FoxCo comes in at No. 13.
TV’s Top 30 Group Owners
|Rank||Station Group||2011 Rev (000)|
|12||Cox Media Group||$512,575|
1. FOX TELEVISION STATIONS
2011 Revenue: $1.6 billion
Ownership: News Corp. (NASDAQ: NWS)
Portfolio: Fox owns 27 full-power stations in 18 markets. It owns more than one station in nine markets: New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Dallas; Washington; Houston; Minneapolis; Phoenix; and Orlando, Fla.
Programming on the main channels: 17 Fox and 10 MNT.
Affiliations on subchannels: Two Bounce TV.
Key executives: Rupert Murdoch, chairman-CEO, News Corp.; Chase Carey, deputy chairman, president-COO, News Corp.; Roger Ailes, chairman, Fox Television Stations; Jack Abernethy, CEO, Fox Television Stations; Dennis Swanson, president, station operations, Fox Television Stations; and Sharri Berg, SVP, news operations.
What’s up: For the first time since the DTV transition, two Fox Television Stations (FTS) started providing programming on their digital subchannels early this year. Bounce TV is now being carried on FTS’s MNT affiliates, WWOR-TV New York and WUTB Baltimore. Bounce TV is a diginet targeting African Americans primarily between 25 and 54 with a programming mix of theatrical motion pictures, live sports, documentaries, specials, inspirational faith-based programs, off-net series, original programming and more. It’s anticipated that more Fox stations will roll out diginet programming later this year.
Last April, Jose Rios became VP of digital news applications for FTS. Rios coordinates all digital news applications for FTS, including mobile applications. In addition, he works with the stations to develop news talent and identify social media opportunities.
Fox’s interest in digital news apps paid off. Last September, during the beginning of the manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor, Fox’s 99-cent app was among the top-ranked news apps at the Apple store. In addition to live coverage from the courtroom, the app offered daily highlights, expert analysis, commentary and timelines. The content was produced by Fox’s KTTV Los Angeles.
The group also experienced some shifts in station management late last year. Mark Rodman was named VP-GM of KSAZ Phoenix. Taking Rodman’s spot as VP-GM at Fox’s KTBC Austin, Texas, was Mike Lewis who had been VP-general sales manager of the Fox-owned duopoly KRIV (Fox)-KTXH (MNT) Houston.
2. CBS TELEVISION STATIONS
2011 Revenue: $1.5 billion
Ownership: CBS Corp. (NYSE:CBS)
Portfolio: CBS owns 30 stations, 29 full-powers and one low-power, in 18 markets. It owns more than one station in 10 markets: New York, Los Angeles; Philadelphia; Dallas; San Francisco; Boston; Detroit; Miami; Sacramento; Calif.; and Pittsburgh.
Programming on the main channels: 16 CBS; eight CW; four independent; and two MTV.
Key executives: Sumner Redstone, executive chairman, CBS Corp.; Leslie Moonves, president-CEO, CBS Corp.; Peter Dunn, president, CBS Television Stations; Anton Guitano, COO, CBS Local Media; Ezra Kucharz, president, CBS Local Digital Media.
What’s up: Late last year, CBS announced it was buying WLNY, an independent station for $55 million. CBS plans to run the Long Island, N.Y., station as a duopoly with flagship WCBS. CBS Television Stations executive Betty Ellen Berlamino has been named VP and station manager following CBS’s closing on the Long Island independent. The station will add three hours of news each weekday beginning this summer and air all its programming in high def.
Also, CBS continued to focus on expanding its local online and mobile efforts by integrating its O&Os and radio stations into 15 regional portals.
In January, the station group enhanced its executive team by naming Joel Goldberg SVP, operations for the CBS Television Stations group. Goldberg was SVP for operations, at WCBS, the company’s New York flagship. While Goldberg will continue his duties overseeing the day-to-day operation of WCBS, he will also work with the local management teams at all the O&O’s, focusing on a number of areas including studio and control room operations, labor relations, standards and practices, new business initiatives and special projects.
WCBS New York and KCBS Los Angeles are poised to launch the group’s first subchannels this year.
3. NBC OWNED TELEVISION STATIONS
2011 Revenue: $1.2 billion
Ownership: Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq:CMCSA) and General Electric (NYSE: GE)
Portfolio: NBC owns 10 full-power stations in 10 markets.
Programming on the main channels: NBC
Affiliations on subchannels: Nonstop, an NBC-owned 24/7 news and information channel, in nine markets (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Francisco, Washington, Miami and San Diego).
Key executives: Brian Roberts, chairman-CEO, Comcast Corp.; Steve Burke, CEO, NBC Universal and EVP, Comcast Corp.; Ted Harbert, chairman, NBC Broadcasting; Valari Staab, president, NBC Owned Television Stations.
What’s up: The station group saw a management shakeup last year when NBC Universal’s Steve Burke and Ted Harbert, chairman of NBC Broadcasting, brought in Valari Staab from ABC’s KGO San Francisco where she had been GM.
Comcast, the new owner of the station group, spent millions last year expanding news departments, including hiring 130 new employees, doing more enterprise reporting and adding 10 newscasts in eight markets.
Earlier this year, NBC-owned KXAS Dallas announced the creation of a new investigative reporting team led by its Scott Friedman, and the addition of “significant resources” to its NBC 5 News Today, which airs from 4:30 to 7 a.m. each weekday.
The group’s commitment to news was also evident last year, with its formation of a cooperative news gathering and reporting partnership with four nonprofit news organizations — ProPublica in New York, The Chicago Reporter, WHYY-FM Philadelphia and KPCC-FM Los Angeles. ProPublica is working with all 10 NBC O&Os, while the other organizations are teamed up with NBC stations in their markets.
4. ABC OWNED TELEVISION STATIONS GROUP
2011 Revenue: $1 billion
Ownership: The Walt Disney Co. (Public: NYSE:DIS)
Portfolio: ABC owns eight full-power stations in eight markets.
Programming on the main channels: ABC.
Affiliations on subchannels: ABC-originated Live Well Network.
Key Executives: Robert Iger, president-CEO, Disney; Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group; and Rebecca Campbell, president, ABC Owned Television Stations Group.
What’s up: In an effort to fill the gap left by Oprah last year, ABC stations added 4 p.m. newscasts in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Fresno, Calif., and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. The jury is still out as to whether that move is paying off.
At KGO, William Burton, who led the station group’s digital media initiatives, was promoted to president-GM of the station. He succeeded Valari Staab, who was named president of NBC Local Media last April.
ABC then named Carla Carpenter, SVP, digital media, for the station group last October. She was VP-news director at ABC-owned WPVI Philadelphia. Carpenter oversees the continuing development and implementation of station group strategies and initiatives involving the Internet, new digital channels, mobile and other evolving digital media.
This January, the station group introduced OTRC: On The Red Carpet, an entertainment news app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch available on the App Store. The new OTRC App, available for the first time for iPhone and iPod touch, offers content from OnTheRedCarpet.com and the television series On The Red Carpet, both produced by KABC Los Angeles.
The affiliation count for the station group’s Live Well Network continues to grow. As of January, the network’s overall clearance is about 55% of all U.S. television households thanks to this year’s addition of five Citadel Communications stations: WLNE Providence, R.I.; WOI Des Moines, Iowa; WHBF Davenport-Rock Island, Iowa-Moline, Ill.; KLKN Lincoln; and KCAU Sioux City, Iowa.
5. TRIBUNE BROADCASTING
2011 Revenue: $793 million
Ownership: Tribune Co. is owned by an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.
Portfolio: Tribune owns 23 full-power stations in 19 markets. It owns more than one station in four markets: Seattle; Indianapolis; New Orleans; and Hartford, Conn.
Affiliations on the main channels: 13 CW; seven Fox; one ABC; and two independents.
Affiliations on subchannels:17 Antenna TV; 12 ThisTV; one Estrella TV; one Azteca; one weather channel; one traffic channel; and one news channel.
Key executives: Sam Zell, chairman; Eddy Hartenstein, president-CEO, Tribune Co.and publisher-CEO, Los Angeles Times; Nils Larsen, president/CEO, Tribune Broadcasting; and Sean Compton, president/programming, Tribune Broadcasting.
What’s up: It’s been three years since Tribune declared bankruptcy and it is still unclear when that status will change. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Carey won’t hold a hearing to consider potential reorganization plans until May. Last October, the judge rejected earlier reorganization plans from Tribune and one from its creditors.
Major creditors such as JPMorgan Chase, and unhappy smaller bondholders are fighting to get the judge to accept their own reorganization plans. Carey also reversed a previous ruling that would have given Chairman Sam Zell a chance to recoup money from his own investment in the company. Zell is demanding a share of any money retirees and other creditors may win in lawsuits or legal settlements over the 2007 leveraged buyout of Tribune that he engineered and which led to its bankruptcy.
In addition, to the company’s unresolved legal and financial troubles, there was further turnover in management. Last May, Eddy Hartenstein, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, was put in charge of the entire company as president-CEO. He filled the vacancy created after Randy Michaels left. At about the same time, Nils Larsen was picked to run the broadcasting division. Larsen backed Zell’s takeover of Tribune.
Larsen then hired veteran media executive Bob Cook as a strategic adviser. Cook, who was president of Twentieth Television, the Fox syndication arm, is working with the division’s management team to strengthen and expand its sales efforts, develop and distribute original programming, and generally advance the company’s businesses.
On April 4, Tribune and DirecTV Inc. announced that after nearly four days of blackout they had struck a deal that will allow DirecTV to carry all of Tribune Broadcasting’s stations and its WGN America cable channel for the next five years.
6. SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP
2011 Revenue: $732 million
Ownership: Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. (NASDAQ: SBGI)
Portfolio: Sinclair owns and manages 74 stations, 72 full-powers and two low-powers, in 45 markets. Of the 74 stations, seven full-powers are owned by Cunningham Broadcasting; six are owned by other entities. Through its partnership with Cunningham and others, it operates more than one station in 24 markets, including Pittsburgh; Salt Lake City; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Baltimore; Nashville; Columbus, Ohio; and Milwaukee.
Affiliations on the main channels: 20 Fox; 18 MNT; 11 ABC; 14 CW; nine CBS; one NBC; and one Azteca.
Affiliations on subchannels: three CW; 33 TheCoolTV; 28 The Country Network; eight ThisTV; seven MNT; one LATV; one Telemundo; and one Estrella TV.
Key executives: David Smith, president-CEO, Sinclair Broadcast Group; Steven M. Marks, VP and COO, television division; David Amy, EVP-CFO; and Barry Faber, EVP-general counsel.
What’s up: Sinclair has been on a station shopping spree, adding 15 stations to its portfolio. Last September, it struck a deal to purchase Four Points Media from affiliates of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. for $200 million. That deal, which closed on Jan 1, included five full-power stations, including CBS affiliate KUTV, the top news station in Salt Lake City, and two low-power stations.
Then, last November, Sinclair announced that it would pay $385 million to acquire Freedom Communications’ eight-station broadcast TV division, including WPEC (CBS) West Palm Beach, Fla., and a duopoly (CBS-CW) in Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y. That deal is slated to close this spring.
The group, through a shared services agreement, is now managing three stations in Columbus, Ohio, according to news reports. It picked up a CW affiliate in Columbus, with the sale of LIN TV’s WWHO to Manhan Media this year. It already operates WSYX (ABC) and WTTE (Fox).
After weeks of tense negotiations, Sinclair reached a multiyear agreement with Time Warner Cable for the carriage of 28 of television stations in 17 markets last February.
In addition, TWC is producing three half-hour local news programs, Monday through Friday, on Sinclair’s ABC affiliate, WXLV Greensboro, N.C., beginning this January.
This February, Sinclair named Scott Livingston, VP of news for the entire TV group. Livingston, who was news director of Sinclair’s flagship, Fox affiliate WBFF Baltimore, will lead Sinclair’s 41 stations that air local news. Livingston has been with Sinclair since it began producing news at WBFF in 1991.
In January, the group appointed Michael Pumo, GM of WPEC (CBS) West Palm Beach, Fla., one of Sinclair’s new station acquisitions. Pumo was VP of broadcast sales for Freedom Communications.
And in February, Mike Smythe was named GM of the Sinclair duopoly KBSI (Fox) and WDKA (MNT) in Paducah, Ky.-Cape Girardeau, Mo. Smythe was GM of Raycom Media’s KFVS (CBS) also in that market.
7. GANNETT BROADCASTING
2011 Revenue: $727 million
Ownership: Gannett Co. (NYSE: GCI)
Portfolio: Gannett owns 23 full-power stations in 19 markets. It owns more than one station in three markets: Denver; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Atlanta.
Affiliations on the main channels: Three ABC; six CBS; 12 NBC, and two MNT.
Affiliations on subchannels: Two Bounce TV; one sports/news channel; and nine local weather channels.
Key executives: Majorie Magner, chairman, Gannett Co.; Gracia Martore, president-CEO, Gannett Co.; and David Lougee, president, Gannett Broadcasting.
What’s up: Craig Dubow resigned as chairman and CEO of Gannett Co. last October as a result of health problems. He was replaced by Majorie Magner, as chairman of the board, and Gracia Martore, who took the title of president-CEO. Martore had been president-COO since 2010.
Several management changes also occurred at the station level last year. Gannett named Larry Audas president-GM of its CBS affiliate WFMY Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem. Audas had been president-GM of Gannett’s KTHV Little Rock, Ark.
Michael Caplan took over at the Little Rock station. Caplan was group leader for Media General’s multimedia operations in Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C.
Last August, Maria Barrs joined Gannett’s ABC affiliate, KXTV Sacramento, as president-GM. She came from Fox-owned KDFW Dallas, where she was VP and news director. She replaced Anita Helt, who left in June to run Scripps-owned KNXV Phoenix.
Earlier this year, Mark Burdett was named president-GM of Gannett’s WUSA (CBS) Washington. Burdett formerly was VP of corporate sales and development for the Baltimore Ravens, and earlier senior director of partnerships and development for the NFL team. He succeeded Allan Horlick, who announced his retirement last November.
Last August, the broadcast group beefed up its internet advertising by expanding its local advertising partnership with Yahoo from nine to all of Gannett’s 19 TV markets.
8. HEARST TELEVISION
2011 Revenue: $678 million
Ownership: Hearst Corp. (private)
Portfolio: Hearst owns 29 full-power stations in 26 markets. It owns more than one station in four markets: Boston; Orlando, Fla.; Sacramento, Calif.; and Kansas City, Mo.
Affiliations on the main channels: 13 ABC; 10 NBC; two CBS; two CW; one MNT; and one independent.
Affiliations on subchannels: One ABC; and one CW; nine Me-TV; 10 ThisTV; four Estrella TV; two local weather; two local news/weather, one AccuWeaher; and two local news/sports.
Key executives: Frank A. Bennack, Jr., vice chairman-CEO, Hearst Corp., and David J. Barrett, president-CEO, Hearst Television Inc.
What’s up: The retirement of several veteran station executives spurred a rash of new appointments last year. Rick Henry, who ran Hearst’s WTAE, the ABC affiliate in Pittsburgh, retired after more than nine years as president-GM, capping a 38-year career with Hearst. Last March, Michael Hayes succeeded Henry. Hayes was president-GM at Hearst WYFF, the NBC affiliate in Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.
John R. Soapes, who for 10 years was general sales manager of Hearst Television’s WKCF, the CW affiliate in Orlando, Fla., took over as president-GM of WYFF.
Last August, Wayne Godsey retired. He had been president-GM of the Hearst duopoly KMBC (ABC) and KCWE (CW) in Kansas City, Mo., since 1999. Godsey was replaced by Sarah Smith, who was president- GM of KETV Omaha, Neb. In November, Ariel Roblin, who was general sales manager of KETV, filled Smith’s spot at the Hearst ABC affiliate.
At the corporate level, last June, Hearst Television promoted Suzanne Grethen from creative services director at its WESH Orlando, Fla., to VP, promotion and marketing, for the entire station group. She is based at Hearst’s New York City headquarters.
9. BELO CORP.
2011 Revenue: $661 million
Ownership: Belo Corp. (NYSE:BLC)
Portfolio: Owns 20 full-power stations in 15 markets. It owns more than one station in five markets: Phoenix; Seattle; New Orleans; Tucson, Ariz.; and Spokane, Wash.
Affiliations on the main channels: Four ABC; four NBC; five CBS; two CW; two MNT; two independents; and one Fox.
Affiliations on subchannels: Seven Live Well Network; four Estrella TV; two ThisTV; and one Bounce TV.
Key executives: Dunia A. Shive, president-CEO, and Peter L. Diaz, president, media operations.
What’s up: Last November, Belo Corp. announced a shared services deal for its Tucson, Ariz., duopoly of KMSB (Fox) and KTTU (MNT), putting operations of the two stations in the hands of Raycom Media’s KOLD (CBS). The only Tucson employees slated to remain with Belo were those in sales. This is the first market where Belo has entered into a shared service agreement. The company stressed in a press release that “we have no plans to enter into a similar agreement elsewhere.”
Also last year, Belo expanded its ad reach with a deal with Yahoo that included the broadcaster’s stations in Dallas-Fort Worth; Seattle-Tacoma, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; New Orleans; Spokane, Wash.; and Boise, Idaho.
Early this year, the group named Michael Valentine, VP/content. Valentine was VP/news at WFAA, Belo’s ABC affil in Dallas-Fort Worth. In this newly created role, Valentine directs news content strategies across multiple platforms for the company’s 15 TV markets. Belo also announced the promotion of Joe Weir to VP/digital. Weir was Belo’s GM/interactive.
10. UNIVISION COMMUNICATIONS
2011 Revenue: $655 million
Ownership: Broadcasting Media Partners Inc., an investor group including Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group.
Portfolio: Univision owns 62 stations, 41 full-powers and 21 low-powers, in 26 markets including Puerto Rico. It owns more than one station in 13 markets: Los Angeles; New York; Miami; Houston; Dallas; Chicago; San Francisco; Phoenix; Sacramento, Calif.; San Antonio, Texas; Tucson, Ariz.; Fresno, Calif.; and Puerto Rico.
Affiliations on the main channels: 28 Univision; 31 TeleFutura; one Home Shopping Network; one independent, and one MNT.
Key executives: Randy Falco, president-CEO, Univision Communications; Cesar Conde, president, Univision Networks; Kevin Cuddihy, president, Univision Television Group; and Isaac Lee, president, news.
What’s Up: Univision underwent some major leadership changes last year. Randy Falco was promoted from EVP-COO to president-CEO in June. Falco replaced Joe Uva, who left Univision last April.
The June departure of Peter Walker, who was president of Univision Local Media and in charge of both TV and radio, also prompted some other shifts in responsibility. Kevin Cuddihy, who was named president of Univision Television Group, last May, runs only the TV division. Cuddihy, previously was EVP of television sales for the company, while the radio division is now overseen by Jose Valle.
Last year, as part of its growing commitment to beef up Univision’s local TV news presence, the group named veteran broadcast journalist Sandra Thomas to the newly created position of senior director of local and affiliate news for Univision. As senior director of local and affiliate news, Thomas will oversee all news content for the local affiliates and serve as the nexus with network news.
Also at the station level, in December, Univision named Raul Rodriguez VP-GM of the group’s KDTV San Francisco. Before joining Univision, Rodriguez was GM and VP of Journal Broadcast Group’s KMIR Palm Springs, Calif.
11. RAYCOM MEDIA
2011 Revenue: $583 million
Ownership: Employee owned, but partially funded by the Retirement Systems of Alabama
Portfolio: Raycom owns and manages 47 stations, 45 full-powers and two low-powers, in 36 markets. Of the 47 stations, five full-powers are owned by Thomas Henson’s American Spirit Media and Southeastern Media Acquisitions, two full-powers are owned by Belo, and one full-power is owned by MCG Capital Corp.
Through its partnership with Henson, Belo and MCG, it operates more than one station in nine markets: Baton Rouge, La.; Cleveland; Honolulu; Richmond, Va.; Columbus, Ga.; Toledo, Ohio; Tucson, Ariz.; Cape Girardeau, Mo.; and Wilmington N.C.
Affiliations on the main channels: 15 NBC; 10 CBS; four ABC, 12 Fox; four MNT; and two CW.
Affiliations on subchannels: 26 Bounce TV; 13 ThisTV; and one CW.
Key executives: Paul McTear, president-CEO; Wayne Daugherty, EVP-COO
What’s up: A decision by the FCC to let Raycom Media keep control of three TV stations in Honolulu, including the CBS and NBC affiliates, was good news for the group. Last November, the agency rejected complaints from a local group opposed to media consolidation. However, the FCC’s Media Bureau fined Raycom’s partner in the deal, MCG Capital, $10,000 for failing to maintain and provide access to public inspection files at one of the stations.
Back in 2009, Raycom, owner of KHNL (NBC) and KFVE (MNT), reached an agreement with MCG Capital Corp., owner of KGMB (CBS), under which KFVE and KGMB would swap affiliations and call letters. Raycom’s KFVE became CBS affiliate KGMB and MCG Capital’s KGMB became MNT affiliate KFVE. Under a shared services agreement, Raycom took over the day-to-day-operations of MCG Capital’s KFVE.
Last August, the FCC approved Raycom’s $18-million acquisition of WFXG Augusta, Ga., a Fox affiliate it was already managing under a local marketing agreement since 2003. The seller was Southeastern Media Acquisitions, owned by Thomas Henson. Raycom also manages Southeastern stations’ WSFX (Fox) Wilmington, N.C., WXTX (Fox) Columbus, Ga., and WUPV (CW) Richmond, Va.
Early this year, Henson announced he was buying Fox affiliate WUPW Toledo, Ohio, from LIN Media for $22.1 million.Raycom will run the station along with its WTOL (CBS) Toledo under a shared services agreement.
Some Raycom stations have new leadership. Last December, Tim Ingram was named VP-GM of KFVS (CBS) and CW affiliate, WQWQ –LP Cape Girardeau, Mo. He ran Raycom’s ABC affiliate KAIT Jonesboro, Ark. Tracey Rogers took Ingram’s spot at KAIT, as VP-GM. Rogers was news director at WMC Memphis.
12. COX MEDIA GROUP
2011 Revenue: $513 million
Ownership: Cox Enterprises (private)
Portfolio: Cox owns and manages 15 full-power stations in 12 markets. Of the 15, one is owned by Ellis Communications. Through its partnership with Ellis, it operates more than one station in three markets: Charlotte, N.C.; Orlando, Fla.; and Reno, Nev.
Affiliations on the main channels: Three Fox; three ABC; three NBC; two CBS; one MNT; and three independents.
Affiliations on subchannels: Seven RTV; one AccuWeather; one LATV; one Korean/Chinese channel; and two weather channels.
Key executives: Jimmy W. Hayes, president-CEO, Cox Enterprises; Doug Franklin, president, Cox Media Group; Neil Johnston, EVP, Strategy & Digital Innovation, Cox Media Group; Bill Hoffman, EVP, Cox Media Group; Mike Joseph, EVP, Cox Media Group; Charles Odom, VP & CFO, Cox Media Group.
What’s up: Last year’s appointment of Doug Franklin, as the new president of Cox Media Group (CMG), triggered new management assignments. Last May, Bill Hoffman was named EVP of CMG. Hoffman was VP-GM of WSB Atlanta, the group’s ABC affiliate in Atlanta. As its new EVP, he oversees the majority of CMG’s radio and television operations, as well as CMG’s corporate revenue efforts. “Hoffman will continue to be ‘champion’ for television, to ensure its perspective and expertise is included in corporate decisions,” according to a CMG statement. Hoffman also coordinates syndicated programming for the TV stations, oversees the Cox Washington Television Bureau and represents the Cox stations to the television industry.
Tim McVay, former VP-GM of Cox’s KTVU (Fox) Oakland, Calif., replaced Hoffman. Tom Raponi, who was VP-GM of independent KICU Oakland, succeeded McVay and became VP-GM of both KTVU and KICU.
Last January, CMG promoted Dave Siegler to replace Sterling Davis as VP of technical operation. Siegler was director of broadcast operations at Cox’s WSOC (ABC) and WXAN (IND) Charlotte, N.C. Davis retired at the end of 2010 but continues as a consultant representing CMG on various broadcast industry committees, including the Open Mobile Video Coalition.
This year, the group named Neil Johnston, EVP of strategy and digital innovation, he was EVP-CFO. In his new role, Johnston is responsible for strategic development, CMG Digital, and the company’s growing portfolio of digital investments.
13. LOCAL TV LLC/FOXCO
Fort Wright, Ky.
Revenue: $430 million
Ownership: Oak Hill Capital Partners
Portfolio: Commonly managed and owned, Local TV LLC and FoxCo. Acquisition LLC owns 19 full-power stations in 16 markets. It owns more than one station in three markets: Norfolk, Va.; Oklahoma City; and Fort Smith-Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.
Affiliations on the main channels: Seven Fox affiliates; five CBS; two NBC; two ABC; one CW; and two MNT.
Affiliations on subchannels: 15 Antenna TV; five local news/weather channels; three MNT; and two ThisTV.
Key executives: Bobby Lawrence, CEO; Pam Taylor, president-COO; and Ted Kuhlman, CFO.
What’s up: Last September, Local TV’s KFSM Fort Smith, Ark., asked the FCC for a waiver of its duopoly restrictions so it could buy a second station in the market, KPBI (now KXNW), from Riverside Media for $784,000. The group argued that the deal meets agency criteria for a “failing station” waiver. FCC rules bar common ownership of two stations in small markets like Fort Smith. The FCC approved the deal in January and Local TV is now operating the station as an MNT affiliate.
14. SCRIPPS TELEVISION STATION GROUP
2011 Revenue: $422 million
Ownership: E.W. Scripps Co. (NYSE: SSP)
Portfolio: Scripps owns and manages 20 stations, 15 full-powers and five low-power, in 13 markets. Of the 20 stations, one full-power is owned by Raycom Media. Through its partnership with Raycom, it operates more than one station in two markets: Kansas City, Mo., and West Palm Beach, Fla
Affiliations on the main channels: 10 ABC; three NBC; five Azteca; one Fox; and one independent.
Affiliations on subchannels: one RTV; one AccuWeather; three Weather Plus; and three other local weather channels.
Key executives: Richard A. Boehne, president-CEO, E.W. Scripps Co., and Brian Lawlor, SVP, television.
What’s up: The Scripps station portfolio dramatically increased with the purchase of the McGraw-Hill Broadcasting group for $212 million in cash. Late last year, the FCC cleared the deal which comprises four full-power ABC affiliates in Denver (KMGH); San Diego (KGTV); Bakersfield, Calif. (KERO); and Indianapolis (WRTV) and five low-power Azteca America affiliates in Denver; Fort Collins, Colo.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; San Diego; and Bakersfield, Calif.
That expansion appears to have sparked a reorganization within the station group. This March, three GMs’s were given added responsibility of overseeing other stations and secondary network affiliates. Ed Fernandez of WXYZ Detroit, oversees KSHB-KMCI Kansas City and Azteca TV affiliates. Sam Rosenwasser of WEWS Cleveland, handles KJRH Tulsa, Okla., and WMAR Baltimore, as well as the LiveWell affiliates. Steve Wasserman of WPTV West Palm Beach, Fla., oversees KNXV Phoenix, WCPO Cincinnati and WFTS Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. Scripps will be hiring stations managers to help the three executives manage their home stations.
Last March, the station group named Jessica Rappaport, VP of marketing for the television division. She works closely with station executives to develop strategies that “strengthen relationships with current advertisers and engage new content consumers,” according to a company press release. Rappaport joined Scripps from the Los Angeles-based, Hollywood Branded Inc., where she developed the social media strategy for the entertainment marketing agency.
15. LIN MEDIA
2011 Revenue: $341 million
Ownership: LIN TV Corp. (NYSE: TVL)
Portfolio: LIN Media owns and manages 30 stations, 29 full-power and one low-power station, in 15 markets. Of the 29 stations, five full power stations are owned by other entities including Acme Television.
Through its partnership with Acme and others, it operates more than one station in 11 markets: Buffalo, N.Y.; New Haven, Conn.; Indianapolis; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Norfolk, Va.; Mobile, Ala.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Dayton, Ohio; Green Bay, Wis.; Austin, Texas; and Providence, R.I.
Affiliations on the main channels: Seven CBS; five Fox; five NBC; five MNT; six CW; and two ABC.
Affiliations on subchannels: one MNT; one Fox; eight TheCoolTV; One Antenna TV; and four Bounce TV.
Key executives: Vincent L. Sadusky, president-CEO; Scott M. Blumenthal, EVP, television; Rob Richter, SVP, new media; Rebecca Duke, VP, distribution; and Brett Jenkins VP, chief technology officer.
What’s up: Early this year, LIN Media announced it was selling Fox affiliate WUPW Toledo, Ohio, to Thomas Henson for $22.1 million. LIN also completed its sale of WWHO (CW) Columbus, Ohio, to Manhan Media Inc., a New York-based media investment company for $7 million.
Last May, LIN bought CW affiliates WCWF Green Bay-Apleton, Wis., and WBDT Dayton, Ohio from Acme Communications for $11.5 million.
LIN appointed Brett Jenkins VP, chief technology officer last August. It is a new management position established to advance the company’s information technology strategies and opportunities for business development.
LIN had its share of tense retransmission consent negotiations starting last March. But it finally came to terms on a new retransmission consent deal with The Dish Network. The agreement ended an eight-day disruption of service involving 27 LIN stations in 17 markets.
LIN also ran into trouble with cable operator Mediacom Communications. But by October, it had reached a retransmission consent agreement with Mediacom resulting in the immediate restoration of nine LIN stations to Mediacom’s cable systems in six markets including: WALA-WFNA Mobile, Ala.-Pensacola, Fla.; WANE Fort Wayne, Ind.; , WTHI Terre Haute, Ind.; WOOD-WOTV Grand Rapids-Battle Creek, Mich.; WAVY-WVBT Portsmouth-Norfolk, Va., and WLUK Green Bay, Wis.
Also, last year, LIN expanded its digital portfolio by acquiring 50.1% ownership of Nami Media Inc., an online marketing and technology company based in Los Angeles.
16. MEDIA GENERAL
2011 Revenue: $316 million
Ownership: Media General (NYSE: MEG)
Portfolio: Media General owns and manages 19 full-power stations in 17 markets. Of the 19 stations, one is owned by Schurz Communications. Through its partnership with Schurz Communications, it operates more than one station in two markets: Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.-Asheville, N.C.; and Augusta, Ga.
Affiliations on the main channels: nine NBC, eight CBS, one ABC; and one CW.
Affiliations on subchannels: four CW; two MNT; and two RTV.
Key executives: Marshall Morton, president-CEO; John A. Schauss, VP-market operations; George L. Mahoney, VP, growth and performance; and James F. Woodward, VP, finance-CFO.
What’s up: Last year’s retirement of O. Reid Ashe Jr., as EVP-COO, created a new executive lineup at the broadcast group. As a result, John A. Schauss, became VP of market operations, with responsibility for all of the company’s local media properties within its five geographically-focused markets. Schauss was VP of finance and CFO. James F. Woodward replaced Schauss in that position. Woodward was VP of growth and performance. George L. Mahoney, took Woodward’s spot at the company. Mahoney was VP, general counsel and secretary.
There were some management changes at the station level. Last September, Robert Romine was named president, GM and group leader for WSPA (CBS) and WYCW (CW), Media General’s stations in Spartanburg, S.C. Jimmy Cromwell succeeded Romine as VP-GM of WJTV (CBS) Jackson, Miss., and WHLT (CBS) Hattiesburg, Miss.
In January, Media General appointed Randy Ingram VP-GM of WBTW, its CBS affiliate in Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C. Ingram succeeds Michael Caplan who left in August 2011 to become GM of Gannett’s KTHV Little Rock, Ark.
17. POST-NEWSWEEK STATIONS
2011 Revenue: $310 million
Ownership: The Washington Post Co. (NYSE:WPO)
Portfolio: Post-Newsweek owns six full-power stations in six markets
Affiliations on the main channels: two NBC affiliates; two ABC; one CBS; and one independent.
Affiliations on subchannels: five LATV affiliates and three ThisTV.
Key executives: Donald Graham, chairman-CEO, the Washington Post Co., and Alan Frank, president-CEO, Post-Newsweek Stations.
What’s up: This March, the station group completed retransmission negotiations with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks with no disruption of service, according to sources. The stations involved included Brighthouse carriage of Post-Newsweek’s CBS affiliate WKMG in Orlando, Fla., and Time Warner Cable’s carriage of KSAT (ABC) San Antonio, Texas. Post-Newsweek also completed agreements with smaller cable systems for its WDIV (NBC) Detroit and with a small system in Houston for carriage of KPRC (NBC).
The broadcaster signed a long-term, group-wide contract for Rentrak’ Corp.’s StationView Essentials local market census-based ratings service, late last year. At that time, Alan Frank, president-CEO of the broadcasting group said: “The industry has been waiting for decades for a viable and robust competitive environment in the television measurement arena. With the kind of innovation that Rentrak is delivering to television stations, we wanted to be the first of many station groups to comprehensively support their efforts.”
Also last year, Jim Joslyn retired as VP-GM of Post-Newsweek’s ABC affiliate KSAT San Antonio, Texas. He ran KSAT for 20 years. Joslyn was succeeded by Phil Lane last August. Lane joined KSAT from Media General’s WSPA-WYCW, a (CBS/CW) duopoly in Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.
18. GRAY TELEVISION
2011 Revenue: $297 million
Ownership: Gray Television Inc. (NYSE: GTN)
Portfolio: Gray owns 31 stations, 29 full-power and two low-power stations in 30 markets. It owns more than one station in Charlottesville, Va., where it operates full-power WCAV (CBS) and two low-power stations: WVAW (ABC) and WAHU (Fox). Two of Gary’s six satellite stations — KBTX (CBS) Waco, Tex., and WYMT (CBS) Lexington, Ky. — are not pure repeater stations, they have their own identity, separate management and produce their own news.
Affiliations on the main channels: 13 CBS; 11 NBC; six ABC; and one Fox.
Affiliations on subchannels: One ABC; four Fox; eight CW; 18 MNT; three ThisTV; two Me-TV; one Untamed Sports Network; one The Country Network; and eight local news/weather channels.
Key executives: Hilton Howell, vice chairman-CEO; Robert S. Prather, president-COO, and James C. Ryan, SVP-CFO; and Kevin Latek, VP for law and development.
What’s up: This February, during an earnings call, Gray President Robert Prather said the group is staying focused on paying down debt and upgrading technology rather than actively looking for acquisitions. “We look all the time,” at potential acquisitions, Prather said. “It’s incumbent on us to take advantage of opportunities out there. But my impression is multiples just aren’t attractive enough to sell anything at this time,” he said.
Also earlier this year, Gray brought in Kevin P. Latek, a partner in the Washington office of Dow Lohnes, as VP for law and development. Latek succeeded Robert Beizer, who retired in February. Latek, works in Washington, and is responsible for government regulation and policy, network relations, and retransmission consent negotiations, among other issues.
Last October, Rentrak Corp., a multi-screen media measurement firm and Gray, signed a multi-year contract for Rentrak’s StationView Essentials service for five of its stations.
19. MEREDITH LOCAL MEDIA GROUP
Des Moines, Iowa
2011 Revenue: $295 million
Ownership: Meredith Corp. (NYSE:MDP)
Portfolio: Meredith owns and manages 13 stations, 12 full-powers and one low-power, in 10 markets. Of the 13 stations, one full-power is owned by Turner Broadcasting. Through its partnership with Turner, it operates more than one station in three markets: Portland, Ore., Kansas City, Mo., and Atlanta
Affiliations on the main channels: six CBS; three Fox; one NBC; two MNT and one independent.
Affiliations on subchannels: one MNT; four news/weather channels; and one Bounce TV.
Key executives: Stephen M. Lacy, chairman-CEO, Meredith Corp., and Paul Karpowicz, president, Meredith Local Media Group.
What’s up: Doreen Wade, the former president of Freedom Broadcasting, joined Meredith’s NBC affiliate, WSMV Nashville, as VP-GM. Last March, Wade succeeded Elden Hale, who retired after nearly 40 years in the broadcasting industry. Hale had been SVP-GM of the station since 2005.
Also last year, Meredith’s daily syndicated television show, Better, increased its carriage to approximately 140 markets reaching more than 80% of U.S. television households. Last September, Better launched in New York and now airs in nine of the country’s Top 10 markets.
Early this year, Meredith-owned WFSB (CBS) New Haven, Conn., teamed up with local newspaper, the Norwich Bulletin. The arrangement includes sharing video clips, stories and exclusive daily meteorology content.
20. NEXSTAR BROADCASTING GROUP
2011 Revenue: $259 million
Ownership: Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc. (NASDAQ:NXST)
Portfolio: Nexstar owns and manages 55 stations, 52 full-powers and three low-powers, in 32 markets. Of the 55 stations, 15 full-powers and two low-powers are owned by Mission Broadcasting and two full-powers are owned by Sinclair.
Through its partnership with Mission and Sinclair, it operates more than one station in 20 markets: Wilkes Barre-Scranton, Pa.; Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark.; Springfield, Mo.; Rochester, N.Y.; Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, Ill.; Fort Smith-Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.; Peoria-Bloomington, Ill.; Amarillo, Texas; Rockford, Ill.; Monroe, La.-El Dorado, Ark.; Lubbock, Texas; Erie, Pa.; Wichita Falls, Texas; Terre Haute, Ind.; Abilene-Sweetwater, Texas; Billings, Mont.; Utica, N.Y.; San Angelo, Texas; Joplin, Mo.-Pittsburg, Kan.; and Evansville, Ind.
Affiliations on the main channels: 12 NBC; 11 Fox; 11 CBS; 11 ABC; two CW; five MNT; and three independents.
Affiliations on subchannels: Seven Bounce TV.
Key executives: Perry A. Sook, chairman-president-CEO; Timothy Busch, EVP-co-COO; Brian Jones, EVP-co-COO; and Thomas Carter, EVP-CFO.
What’s up: Nexstar acquired three stations last year: WFRV (CBS) Green Bay, Wis., WJMN (CBS) Marquette, Mich., and WEHT (ABC) Evansville, Ind. The group bought WFRV and WJMN from Liberty Media for $20 million.
Having lost the Fox affiliation for WTVW in Evansville, Nexstar purchased WEHT from Gilmore Broadcasting for $18.5 million. To help finance that purchase, Nexstar spun off its one-time Fox affiliate WTVW to Mission Broadcasting for $6.7 million. Nexstar already manages Mission stations in 14 other markets.
In February, the group named Arika L. Zink VP-GM of WEHT. Zink also oversees WTVW (independent). She succeeded Mike Smith.
Much of the station group news for 2011 focused on Nexstar CEO Perry Sook’s ongoing battle with the Fox Network over programming fees, or reverse compensation, that the network is demanding from all of its affiliates as a condition of affiliation renewal.
Rather than pay the fees, essentially a share of the retransmission consent fees that many stations now receive from cable and satellite operators, Nexstar dropped its Fox affiliations in four markets — Evansville; Terre Haute, Ind.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Springfield, Mo. Sook converted the Fort Wayne and Springfield stations into independents and bought WEHT (ABC) in Evansville. In Terre Haute, Nexstar replaced Fox with ABC on WFXW and switched the call letters to WAWV. Nexstar renewed its remaining eight Fox affiliates through December 2013.
Nexstar’s management of the seven stations (five full-powers and two low-powers) owned by Four Points Media Group ended last year when Sinclair Broadcast Group bought Four Points for $200 million. However, the group profited from the sale. This year, Nexstar announced that it received a payment of $6.7 million from the Four Points sale. The payment is for management and incentive fees earned for 2011 as well as a termination payment.
21. TELEMUNDO STATION GROUP
2011 Revenue: $254 million
Ownership: Comcast Corp. (NYSE:CCW) and General Electric (NYSE: GE)
Portfolio: Telemundo owns 15 full-power stations in 15 markets.
Programming on the main channels: 14 Telemundo; one independent in Puerto Rico
Key executives: Brian Roberts, chairman-CEO, Comcast Corp.; Steve Burke, CEO, NBC Universal and EVP, Comcast Corp,; Emilio Romano, president, Telemundo Media; Jacqueline Hernández, COO, Telemundo Media; and Manuel Abud, president, Telemundo Station Group.
What’s Up: The Telemundo station group has new leadership. Manuel Abud became president of the group on Jan. 1, 2012, reporting to Emilio Romano, president of Telemundo Media. Abud was president-GM of Telemundo’s KXTX Dallas. He is responsible for leading the Telemundo stations “with a hyper focus on localism through developing and producing local content, strengthening the stations’ commitment to their local community and ensuring local advertisers benefit from the best value in the market,” according to a statement released at the time of his appointment. Abud replaced Ronald Gordon, who was named chairman at ZGS Communications, which owns and operates the largest group of independent Telemundo affiliates.
Last November, Telemundo hired former Univision news executive Alina Falcon to head its news and alternative programming at both the Spanish-language network and its O&Os. Also, the group increased its local news and public affairs programming at local stations by more than 25% in an expansion initiative that was completed by this January. Telemundo is working on a plan to fully utilize its spectrum, which will be rolling out by the end of the year.
22. NEWPORT TELEVISION LLC
Kansas City, Mo.
2011 Revenue: $218 million
Ownership: Providence Equity Partners
Portfolio: Newport owns and manages 30 stations, 28 full-powers and two low-powers, in 20 markets. Of the 30 stations, five full-powers are owned by High Plains Broadcasting, one is owned by Nextsar Broadcasting and one is owned by Mercury Broadcasting Co.
Through its partnership with High Plains and others, it operates more than one station in 10 markets: Memphis; Little Rock, Ark.; Mobile, Ala.-Pensacola, Fla.; Tulsa, Okla.; Salt Lake City; Jacksonville, Fla.; Bakersfield, Calif.; Binghamton, N.Y.; Witchita, Kan.; and Harrisburg-Lancaster, Pa.
Affiliations on the main channels: six NBC; six Fox; six ABC; four CBS; four CW; two MNT; one Telemundo; and one independent.
Affiliations on subchannels: one NBC; five CW; 10 CoolTV; three MNT; two RTV; five Country Network; one independent; one Mexicanal; one local news channel, and one weather channel.
Key executives: Sandy DiPasquale, president-CEO, and Craig Millar, SVP, operations.
What’s up: Providence Equity Partners is shopping Newport Television, the group of TV stations it acquired in 2008, to potential buyers, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
Newport’s portfolio shrunk last year when it agreed to sell several properties including KTVF (NBC) Fairbanks, Alaska, and KVOS (Me-TV) Seattle. It sold KTVF to Chena Broadcasting, a local group headed by Michael Young, for $1.1 million. Young is a former member of Fairbanks municipal assembly. Dell computer billionaire Michael Dell has agreed to buy KVOS. Terms were not disclosed. Also last year, High Plains Broadcasting, Newport’s duopoly partner, said it was selling KFTY San Francisco to Spanish-language station group Una Vez Mas for $5.2 million, according to an FCC filing.
Last April, Newport partnered with Inergize Digital, a provider of integrated digital management solutions, to relaunch redesigned websites for all the group’s stations, increasing visits by 41% and page views by 13%.
Early this year, the broadcast group’s WHP (CBS) Harrisburg, Pa., WXXA (Fox) Albany, N.Y., and WSYR (ABC) Syracuse, N.Y., reached a new retransmission consent deal with local Verizon FiOS systems. Initially, Newport yanked its stations’ signals for a few days until a compromise was reached.
23. SUNBEAM TELEVISION CORP.
2011 Revenue: $193 million
Ownership: Ed Ansin
Portfolio: Sunbeam own three full-power stations in two markets. It owns more than one station in Boston.
Affiliations on the main channels: One NBC; one Fox; and one CW.
Affiliations on subchannels: One Estrella TV; one ThisTV; and one The Country Network.
Key executives: Ed Ansin, president; Robert W. Leider, EVP-GM, Sunbeam; and James Ansin, station manager, WSVN (Fox) Miami.
What’s up: The highly contentious retrans battle between Sunbeam and satellite program provider DirecTV was finally resolved just in time to avoid a Super Bowl blackout this January. Sunbeam’s WSVN Miami (Fox) and WHDH (NBC) and WLVI (CW) Boston reached a retransmission consent agreement with DirecTV less than two weeks before the game. “We are pleased that we reached an agreement with DirecTV, and we appreciate our viewers’ patience during this tough negotiation,” said Sunbeams’ Robert W. Leider.
Earlier that month, the carriage dispute between DirecTV and Sunbeam left subscribers unable to view the Packers-Giants NFL playoff game on WSVN Miami and then the Golden Globes broadcast on Sunbeam’s WHDH Boston.
Last August, both Sunbeam’s WSVN Miami and WHDH expanded their morning news offerings by an hour. The Miami station added an hour to its morning newscast, Today in Florida, with the debut of a 60-minute newscast from 9 to 10 a.m. The station was already providing a four-hour morning news block from 5 to 9 a.m. At WHDH, its local morning news broadcast, Today in New England, took over the 9-10 a.m. timeslot held by Live with Regis and Kelly. The station was airing news from 5 to 7 a.m., followed by NBC’s Today show (7-9 a.m.).
24. NEW YOUNG BROADCASTING
2011 Revenue: $183 million
Ownership: The four largest owners are Standard General with about 25%, Oppenheimer Funds with roughly 20%, Credit Suisse with roughly 15% and Highland Capital with roughly 12%.
Portfolio: Young owns 10 full-power stations in 10 markets.
Affiliations on the main channels: Five ABC, three CBS, one NBC; and one MNT.
Affiliations on subchannels: One MNT; two local weather channels; two RTV; and three The Country Network.
Key executives: Thomas Sullivan, chairman; Deb McDermott, president.
What’s up: Young Broadcasting’s Tony Cassara resigned as CEO and board member in March. He had served in that post for only about a year. Thomas Sullivan, chairman of the board, said: “Tony has advised us that he would like to pursue interests outside of Young Broadcasting, including the ownership of other broadcasting stations.” Deb McDermott continues as the president of Young Broadcasting, responsible for day-to-day operations. The board is searching for Cassara’s replacement.
Last April, when Cassara took over as CEO, it was a sign that reorganization of the company was complete and that the station group was widely viewed as financially healthy. Young emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in 2010 with its $830 million in debt reduced to $360 million. After two attempts to sell Young’s assets at auction in 2009 failed, senior creditors purchased the company for $220 million.
Prior to Cassara’s appointment as CEO, Vincent Young resigned from the board where he was serving as non-executive chairman. Soo Kim of hedge fund Standard General, replaced Young. Sullivan, who was already on the board, became chairman. Young’s departure from the station group that bears his family name was, in part, the result of his alignment with the group that failed to have its bankruptcy reorganization plan imposed.
Last May, Young announced the appointment of Kenneth M. Freedman as the new GM of KWQC, its NBC affiliate in Davenport, Iowa. He joined the station from KGW Portland, Ore., where he was general sales manager.
Gray Television continues to provide certain advisory services to Young’s WKRN Nashville, Tenn.; WTEN Albany, N.Y.; WRIC Richmond, Va.; WBAY Green Bay, Wis.; KWQC Davenport, Iowa; KELO Sioux Falls, S.D.; and KLFY Lafayette, La.
25. ALLBRITTON COMMUNICATIONS
2011 Revenue: $181 million
Ownership: Allbritton Communications (private)
Portfolio: Allbritton owns nine stations, eight full-powers and one low-power, in seven markets. Of the nine, two full-powers and one low-power simulcast programming in Birmingham, Ala.
Affiliations on the main channels: all ABC.
Affiliations on subchannels: Five RTV; one Live Well; one Me-TV; and five weather.
Key executives: Robert L. Allbritton, chairman; Frederick J. Ryan, Jr., vice chairman, president-COO; and Jerry Fritz, SVP, legal and strategic affairs.
What’s up: This January, Allbritton asked the FCC to step in after its retransmission consent negotiations with a small-cable operator collapsed. Allbritton filed an emergency petition with the FCC charging cable MSO Shentel Telecommunications Co. with “bad faith bargaining” when it dropped its WJLA (ABC) Washington from carriage to 8,200 subscribers in Shenandoah County, Va., last December. According to a statement from Allbritton, “despite WJLA’s acceptance of Shentel’s offer on the table, Shentel reneged at the 11th hour, leaving its Washington market subscribers without ABC7 programming.
Some of the broadcasters’ retrans battles were resolved. Last January, after months of negotiations, the broadcast group closed a multi-year retransmission consent agreement with Comcast. The deal covered Allbritton’s ABC affiliates in Washington; Harrisburg, Pa.; Lynchburg, Va.; Charleston, S.C.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Little Rock, Ark., in addition to its Washington cable news channel. The group’s WJLA cut a retrans deal with Cox Cable in Fairfax County, Va., last year without any service disruptions.
Last December, Allbritton promoted Bill Lord to VP-GM of WJLA and NewsChannel 8 in Washington. The move elevates Lord from station manager to having control over the editorial, sales, marketing, technical and operational structure at both operations.
2011 Revenue: $127 million
Ownership: Entravision Communications Corp. (NYSE:EVC)
Portfolio: Entravision owns and manages 53 stations, 20 full-powers and 33 low-powers, in 24 markets. Of the 53 stations, 10 full-power stations are owned by other entities including Univision.
Through its partnership with Univision and others, it operates more than one station in 19 markets: Washington; Boston; San Diego; Las Vegas; Albuquerque-Santa Fe, N.M.; Denver; Hartford-New Haven, Conn.; El Paso, Texas; Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Fla.; Tampa-St. Petersburg-Sarasota, Fla.; Monterey-Salinas, Calif.; Palm Springs, Calif.; Santa Barbara, Calif.; Corpus Christi, Tex.; Yuma, Ariz.-El Centro, Calif.; Reno, Nev.; Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, Tex.; San Angelo, Tex., and Laredo, Tex.
Affiliations on the main channels: On main channels: 24 Univision; 20 TeleFutura; one Telemundo; two Fox; two CW; one MNT; one Home Shopping Network; one Jewelry TV; and one independent.
Key executives: Walter Ulloa, chairman-CEO; Philip Wilkinson, president-COO; and Mario M. Carrera, SVP of Spanish-Language Television.
What’s up: Entravision started off this year with a key station group appointment. Mario M. Carrera was named to the newly-created position of SVP of Spanish-language television, overseeing and managing all of company’s Spanish-language television properties. Carrera previously led Entravision’s radio, television and interactive assets in Colorado as the VP-GM for eight years.
“His appointment reflects our efforts to optimize our operating structure in order to better capitalize on our market-leading media properties, which are located in some of the fastest-growing Hispanic markets in the U.S.” said CEO Walter Ulloa.
In March, the station groups’ 24 Univision affiliates began airing a new weekly political public affairs show Perspectiva Nacional con Armando Guzman. The show is focused on examining issues and news and events affecting the U.S. Hispanic community. The upcoming 2012 elections are also going to be a key element of the program.
Last May, all 53 Entravision stations aired an exclusive interview of President Obama. The interview was conducted by Adriana Arevalo, news director for the group’s KINC Las Vegas.
27. JOURNAL BROADCAST GROUP
2011 Revenue: $119 million
Ownership: Journal Communications (NYSE:JRN)
Portfolio: Journal Broadcast Group owns and manages 14 stations, 12 full-powers and two low-powers, in 10 markets. Of the 14 stations, one full-power is owned by Ace TV. Through its partnership with Ace TV, it operates more than one station in four markets: Tucson, Ariz.; Green Bay-Appleton, Wis.; Boise, Idaho; and Palm Springs, Calif.
Affiliations on the main channels: Four ABC; three Fox; three NBC; one CBS; two MNT; and one CW.
Affiliations on subchannels: Five Live Well; four Mexicanal; two LATV; two Me-TV; one Accuweather/local weather; and one RTV.
Key Executives: Steve Smith, chairman-CEO, Journal Communications; Andre J. Fernandez, president-CFO, Journal Communications; Jim Prather, EVP, TV and radio operations, Journal Broadcast Group and VP-GM, KTNV Las Vegas; Steve Wexler, EVP, TV and radio operations, Journal Broadcast Group and VP-GM, WTMJ Milwaukee.
What’s up: The group’s four ABC affiliates reached a long-term affiliation renewal deal with ABC late last year. The agreement covers Journal Broadcast Group’s KIVI Boise, Idaho; KTNV Las Vegas; KSAW-LP Twin Falls, Idaho; and KGUN Tucson, Ariz. “We are very pleased to continue our strong relationship with the ABC Television Network,” said Steven J. Smith, chairman-CEO of Journal Communications. “ABC is a terrific partner for us in these markets.”
Several Journal stations started carrying the Live Well Network last October. The multicast network is produced by the ABC Owned Television Stations Group and features lifestyle programming. Five Journal stations — WTMJ (NBC) Milwaukee, KTNV (ABC) Las Vegas, KGUN (ABC)Tucson, Ariz.; KMTV (CBS) Omaha, Neb., and KIVI (ABC) Boise, Idaho — air the network on subchannels.
This February, the group added a new executive. It named Michael J. Gay, VP of interactive media. In this role, Gay will lead the design and implementation of digital initiatives across all of Journal’s television and radio properties. He was corporate executive producer for digital media at Hearst Television.
28. FISHER BROADCASTING
2011 revenue: $119 million
Ownership: Fisher Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:FSCI)
Portfolio: Fisher owns 20 stations, 13 full-powers and seven low-powers, in eight markets. It owns more than one station in five markets: Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Eugene-Coos Bay-Roseburg, Ore.; Bakersfield, Calif.; and Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, Wash.
Affiliations on the main channels: nine CBS; two ABC; one Fox; one MNT; one CW; and six Univision.
Affiliations on subchannels: three CW; four ThisTV; and one MNT.
Key Executives: Colleen Brown, president-CEO; Robert Dunlop, EVP of operations; Christopher Bellavia, SVP, general counsel and corporate secretary; Randa Minkarah, SVP of revenue and business development; Hassan Natha, SVP-CFO.
What’s up: Fisher Communications avoided a dissident takeover of its board last May. While shareholders voted to add two of four directors nominated by a dissident faction to the company’s board, Fisher’s six directors still dominate the nine-member board.
That election resolved a proxy fight that started shortly after the first of the year when Fisher disclosed it had received a $211 million unsolicited takeover bid by Huntingdon REIT, a Canadian real estate investment trust.
Joseph J. Troy and Matthew Goldfarb, nominated by hedge-fund manager FrontFour Capital Group, joined FrontFour’s David Lorber on Fisher’s board of directors. Lorber serves on Huntingdon’s board and Huntingdon President-CEO Zachary George, is a co-founder of Front Four with Lorber.
However, in a split vote, shareholders also elected two Fisher nominees: current director Richard Hawley and new nominee Roger Ogden, a veteran broadcaster, although, Ogden resigned from the board last October. In January, Peter E. Murphy was elected to Ogden’s seat. Murphy is the founder of Wentworth Capital Management, a private investment and venture capital firm focused on media, technology.
Had shareholders elected all of Front Four’s nominees, it would have shifted the board in favor of the dissident faction, opening up Fisher to a takeover by Huntingdon.
Last December, the company completed the sale of its Fisher Plaza headquarters complex in Seattle to Hines Global REIT Inc. for $160 million in cash. Its board of directors also approved a stock repurchase program of up to an aggregate of $25 million of its outstanding shares of common stock.
Fisher launched a new lifestyle website last June. It is aimed at 18-49ers on a variety of topics designed to complement the group’s KOMOnews.com. Niche sections such as Nosh, Culture, 9 to 5, Dwell, Gadgets and Rides are hoped to provide a more targeted and results-oriented sale for advertisers, according to the company.
29. HUBBARD BROADCASTING
St Paul, Minn.
2011 Revenue: $111 million
Ownership: Hubbard family
Portfolio: Hubbard owns seven full-power stations in six markets. It owns more than one station in Minneapolis; the group also operates five full-power satellites in three markets: Minneapolis, Albany, N.Y., and Duluth, Minn.
Affiliations on the main channels: three ABC; three NBC; and one independent.
Affiliations on subchannels: three ThisTV; four Me-TV; two local weather; and one mobile DTV service.
Key executives: Stanley S. Hubbard, chairman; Rob Hubbard, president, Hubbard Television Group.
What’s up: At Hubbard, acquisitions were made on the radio side of the business. Last year, the company bought 17 of Bonneville International’s radio stations in Washington, Chicago, St. Louis and Cincinnati for $505 million.
Hubbard’s KSTP (ABC) Minneapolis won a Peabody for investigative reporting in 2011. The station was recognized for Who Killed Doc?, an investigation that questioned the circumstances surrounding the accidental electrocution of a local sailor in Iraq and changed how the Armed Forces notifies families of such deaths. KSTP’s winning team: Mark Albert, Lindsay Radford, John Mason, Mike Maybay, Jim O’Connell and Jared Bergerson.
30. GRANITE BROADCASTING
2011 Revenue: $103 million
Ownership: Silver Point Capital
Portfolio: Granite owns and manages 12 full-power stations in nine markets. Of them, two are owned by Malara Broadcasting and one is owned by Barrington Broadcasting. Through its partnership with Malara and Barrington, it operates more than one station in three markets: Fort Wayne, Ind.; Peoria, Ill.; and Duluth, Minn.
Affiliations on the main channels: four NBC; three CBS, three ABC, one MNT and one independent.
Affiliations on subchannels: one CBS; one Fox/MNT; two CW; one MNT; one LATV; and two news/weather channels.
Key executives: Peter Markham, chairman, and Duane Lammers, COO.
What’s up: Last July, Nexstar Broadcasting Group took Granite to court. Nexstar filed a federal civil antitrust lawsuit in the Northern District of Indiana against Granite alleging that Granite is monopolizing local TV sales in Fort Wayne, Ind.
According to Nexstar, Granite would control the local ad sales in the market with stations affiliated with Fox, NBC, ABC, CW and MNT. The suit is an apparent reaction to Granite’s WISE’s decision to pick up the Fox affiliation in Fort Wayne after Nexstar was unable to come to terms with Fox on renewing the affiliation for its WFFT. WISE is an NBC affiliate that splits the time on its subchannel between MNT and Fox. Granite also manages Malara Broadcasting’s WPTA (ABC) which carries CW on its subchannel.
Last December, Katz Television Group’s Continental Television Sales said it was going to provide exclusive national representation for all Granite Broadcasting stations, including those Granite operates under shared services agreements. This new deal adds seven stations to Continental’s roster: WKBW Buffalo (ABC); WMYD Detroit (MNT); KDLH Duluth, Minn. (CBS); WISE Ft. Wayne, Ind. (NBC); KSEE Fresno, Calif. (NBC); WHOI Peoria, Ill. (ABC); and KOFY San Francisco (independent).