EARNINGS CALL

Journal Bullish On Buying JSA Spinoffs

The group’s CEO, Steven Smith, says Journal’s appetite for acquisitions “has not dissipated at all” and it’s actively looking at stations other groups may have to sell to stay within the FCC’s new regulations.

Journal Broadcast Group intends to take advantage of the FCC’s clamp down on JSAs by buying stations other groups shed, Steven Smith, CEO, said during today’s conference call discussing first-quarter financial results.

“We continue to be interested in broadcast acquisitions,” Smith said, particularly stations that other groups may have to sell to hew the line on the FCC’s new, tougher rules limiting JSAs.

“It’s a bit of a jumbled situation,” regarding what station groups will do to comply with those new rules, Smith said: “There are a number of folks working through getting recent purchases approved. Our appetite has not dissipated at all.”

Most recently, however, Journal has been a seller. Early this year, it closed on the sale of two Palm Springs stations to OTA, a speculator hoping to cash in on the FCC’s spectrum auction next year.

Smith said that while Journal “stands with the industry” in believing that instead of imposing rules limiting JSAs, the FCC should instead review “ownership rules that are archaic” with an eye toward reworking them.

Noting that while Journal has a low debt-to-cash flow leverage ratio of 2.11 times, and could use cash on hand for share repurchases, Smith said buying stations is a higher priority.

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“While we do discuss [share repurchases] with the board, the focus has been on finding some new stations to buy,” he said.


Comments (6)

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Brad Dann says:

April 29, 2014 at 4:05 pm

If I were them, I’d hurry up and buy something, otherwise their low debt to cash flow and poor results will make them a huge target to be bought.

    Joanne McDonald says:

    April 29, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    I’d favor the idea of Hubbard, Cordillera, Morgan Murphy, Journal, Quincy, Schurz, and Dispatch all combining their operations into a single broadcasting group to better compete with Sinclair, Nexstar, Lin/Media General, Gray, Raycom, Hearst, Scripps, and others for dealing with network programming costs from ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, NYNET, and CW, and also for bidding on syndicated programming. Also to keep up with the future of channel repacking, channel sharing, and spectrum auctions happening in the not to distant future.

    Joanne McDonald says:

    April 29, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I forget to mention Graham Holdings and Sunbeam to make 9 small common large to medium size market broadcasting groups into a single unified broadcasting group to take on retransmission consent dollars from the MSOs with Cordillera and Journal overlap in Tucson and Schurz and Quincy overlap in South Bend with Journal’s KGUN/KWBA and Quincy WJST going to LIn/Media General. Sunbeam and Graham Holdings can be unified with the Graham family running the combined operations instead of Ed Astin and his family.

    Darrell Bengson says:

    April 30, 2014 at 10:24 am

    You really one delusional puppy don’t you? Isn’t it great that absolute nobody cares what you favor

none none says:

April 29, 2014 at 5:29 pm

James what a GREAT idea, the other guys are TOO big so lets make a REALLY big group to ‘un-serve’ the local markets.

    Wagner Pereira says:

    April 30, 2014 at 1:21 am

    Do not worry. James is only talking to himself. No one takes him seriously.


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