The FCC’s spectrum auction will net a New Hampshire media company nearly $100 million, but will also mean job losses and the station going dark. WBIN, known as NH1, earned $68.1 million for its spectrum. The company has also sold its other license rights for as much as $30 million, bringing the deal to as much as $100 million.
A majority of the staff was laid off at a meeting this morning, the Union Leader reports. Because New Hampshire holds the quadrennial first-in-the-nation presidential primary, NH1 covered politics heavily. Paul Steinhauser, who spent 28 years at CNN, lastly as deputy political director and managing editor for politics, joined NH1 in 2014 as an anchor.
“I am incredibly proud of the people in our television, radio and digital media businesses,” said station owner Bill Binnie. “The sale of our television business makes strategic and financial sense.” Binnie said he will use some of the proceeds to expand NH1’s digital operations and that “many of our employees” will stay on for that expansion. The company also owns 19 radio stations.
Binnie acquired the station, then known as WZMY, in 2011 for $9.25 million and renamed it WBIN.
Licensed in Derry, NH, WBIN is part of the Boston TV market. NH1 reports the remaining license rights were sold “to a major television group.” If the acquirer turns out to be NBC-owned WBTS, the license would give the 2-month-old NBC affiliate greater coverage in Southern New Hampshire and Northeastern Massachusetts. WBIN airs on digital channel 35 and virtual channel 50.