Five station groups have undertaken a station swap similar to what happens at the trading deadline in professional sports. This time, though, the moves affect hundreds of people.
Media General and LIN Media, looking to comply with Federal regulations over ownership rules have initiated a TV station swap involving Sinclair Broadcast, Meredith and Hearst Corporation.
Here’s the breakdown:
Sinclair will buy from Media General: Providence NBC affiliate WJAR
Sinclair will buy from LIN Media: Green Bay FOX affiliate WLUK, Green Bay CW affiliate WCWF and certain assets of Savannah, GA, FOX affiliate WTGS and the rights to acquire the principal assets of WTGS, which is operated by LIN but owned by WTGS Television, LLC.
Media General will sell to Hearst: Birmingham, AL NBC affiliate WVTM.
LIN Media will sell to Hearst: Savannah, GA ABC affiliate WJCL.
Meredith will buy from LIN Media: Mobile-Pensacola FOX affiliate WALA.
“We’re pleased to announce this divestiture plan, which we believe should clear the way for our business combination with LIN Media to move forward in the regulatory approval process,” George L. Mahoney, president and CEO of Media General said in a statement.
“This transaction not only allows us to strengthen our portfolio geographically, but because it frees up 0.7% of national ownership cap, it allows us the ability to acquire additional television stations that are core to our asset base,” David Smith, president and CEO of Sinclair said in a statement.
Sinclair’s Smith added, “Although there is a need for regulatory reform to increase the ownership cap, swaps like this one are advantageous to us in that we are trading a single station MyNet affiliate in a large market, allowing us to acquire quality television stations in smaller DMAs.”
In its press release, Sinclair said its looking for “the receipt of a waiver to allow the continued joint ownership of the two Green Bay stations.”