WTVA Now Officially Owned By Heartland Media, New GM Named

By Aneya Fernando 

WTVA_304As we reported in September, WTVA, the Tupelo, Miss., NBC and ABC affiliate which has been owned by the Spain family for 57 years, was recently bought by Heartland Media.

Well, last week the sale was officially completed. Heartland Media president and CEO Bob Prather told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal that viewers were unlikely to notice the change in ownership.

“It’s been a long process, but we’re glad to be here,” Prather told reporter Dennis Seid. “This is a great station with great leadership under Frank Spain, Jane Spain and Phil Sullivan for a long, long time and we like to buy stations with traditions of great leadership and excellence in the markets and keep them that way. I would think the viewers will have very little idea there’s new ownership in town, actually.”


Along with a new owner, the station also got a new general manager in Dan Modisett. He spent the last 30 years as GM at WLBT, the Jackson, Miss., NBC affiliate. WTVA’s former GM, Phil Sullivan, recently announced his retirement and is leaving March 6.

Prather told the paper he’ll leave Modisett to actually run the station.

“I’ve never been involved with the hiring decisions in a station in my life, and I’ve been in charge of as many as 40 stations,” Prather told Seid. “I really believe that local people need to hire people they feel good with and are right for that community. I don’t anticipate any changes other than normal attrition and turnover.”