Media General Sells, Swaps TV Stations

More broadcast TV stations are changing hands, with this week’s transactions between Media General, Meredith Corp., LIN Media, Hearst Corp. and Sinclair Broadcast Group. The deals will clear the way for Media General and LIN Media to merge, by satisfying regulatory requirements regarding station ownership.

In the first deal, Meredith Corp. is buying WALA-TV -- a Fox affiliate serving Mobile, AL and Pensacola, FL -- from Media General for around $86 million. The area is the nation’s 59th-largest broadcast TV market.

Meredith Local Media Group President Paul Karpowicz stated: “Both Mobile and Pensacola are desirable destinations for tourism and relocation. And we are excited about the political advertising dollars that flow into Florida every cycle.”

The acquisition brings Meredith’s total station portfolio to 15 local broadcast operations across the U.S.

Media General and LIN Media are also selling stations in New Bedford, MA, Green Bay-Appleton, WI, and Savannah, GA, via a station swap with Sinclair Broadcast Group. Under the terms of the station swap, Media General is giving up its NBC affiliate in Providence-New Bedford, WJAR, and LIN is giving up WTGS in Savannah and two stations in Green Bay-Appleton -- its Fox affiliate WLUK and CW affiliate WCWF.

In return, Media General is picking up Sinclair’s Fox affiliate KXRM and CW affiliate KXTU, both located in the Colorado Springs-Pueblo market, as well as Sinclair’s MyNetworkTV affiliate WTTA in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Sarasota, FL.

Finally, Media General is selling its NBC affiliate -- WVTM in Birmingham, AL -- to Hearst Corp., which is also acquiring LIN’s ABC station WJCL in Savannah. When the deals and merger are complete, Media General and LIN will own 71 stations across the U.S.

This is the latest in a series of transactions in the local TV arena. Previously, Meredith acquired KMOV in St. Louis and KTVK in Phoenix, and is also close to completing its purchase of WGGB, an ABC affiliate in Springfield, MA.

"Digital transmitter for TV, mobile and multimedia broadcast" photo from Shutterstock.

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