Atlanta-based Gray Television has closed its $2.825 billion deal to buy Meredith Corporation’s 17 local stations, making it the second largest TV station owner in the country behind Nexstar.
As part of the purchase, Gray picks up Atlanta CBS affiliate WGCL. Atlanta Journal-Constitution media writer Rodney Ho says it’s the first time in 28 years that the company has owned a TV station in its hometown.
Under Meredith, Ho writes, WGCL has “languished largely in fourth place among the four local news operations in town for many years and has experienced unusually high managerial and staff changes.”
Gray TV CEO Hilton Howell said the company is thrilled by the purchase and thinks there will be less turnover at WGCL in Atlanta now that it’s owned by Gray.
“I think what we will bring is very simple and important: direction,” said Howell. “We are broadcasters first. The previous company focused on print and publishing. We don’t have any of those assets to divert us.”
Howell also said Gray has placed a tremendous investment in technology, digital distribution and digital sales.
“The advent of technology does not diminish ad views,” he said. “It just shifts where people are watching. I consider it a huge positive to the TV station business.”