Category Archives: Broadcasting Industry News

WGVU Presents Kids Day at Air Zoo

WGVU Public Media (Grand Rapids) is hosting “Kids Day at the Air Zoo” this Sunday, March 24.

The fundraiser for WGVU PBS Kids programming will allow families to  visit the Kalamazoo Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum for a discounted price of just five dollars a person.

PBS Kids character Daniel Tiger will be on hand along with performances by family favorites Benjammin, and Joe Reilly.

See the event web page here for more information.

E.W. Scripps to Acquire WXMI-TV

The E.W. Scripps Company is acquiring eight television stations in seven markets from the Nexstar Media Group, Inc. transaction with Tribune Media as it continues executing its plan to enhance the strength and operating performance of its Local Media portfolio.

The acquisition grows the Scripps local television station footprint to 59 stations in 42 markets with a reach of nearly 30 percent of U.S. TV households. It also diversifies Scripps’ network affiliations, adding two CBS stations, two Fox stations and four CWs.

Included in the acquisition is WXMI-TV (Grand Rapids).  This will be Scripps’ third television station in Michigan.  Scripps presently owns WXYZ-TV/WMYD-TV (Detroit) and WSYM-TV (Lansing).

From a March 20 Press Release from the E.W. Scripps Company:

“This acquisition represents another step in our plan to improve the depth, reach and durability of our broadcast television station portfolio while adding nicely to the company’s free cash flow generation,” said Adam Symson, president and CEO of Scripps. “These stations allow us to rebalance our portfolio with meaningful assets – at an efficient price ahead of a robust political advertising season.”

The acquired stations’ blended 2017-18 revenue was $263 million, and EBITDA was $56 million.

Transaction highlights:

  • The purchase price is $505 million for six markets and $75 million for WPIX, the CW affiliate in New York City.
  • The buyer’s multiple for the six markets excluding New York is 8.1x, net of tax benefits.
  • This is an asset purchase, and Scripps will receive a full step up in the tax basis of the assets acquired.
  • Scripps expects to finance the transaction with a mix of term loans and unsecured debt.
  • The company anticipates its total leverage ratio, net of cash, would be approximately 5x at closing.
  • Scripps has granted Nexstar the option to buy back WPIX in New York City. The option is exercisable from March 31, 2020, through the end of 2021.

A more durable Scripps television portfolio
The eight stations deepen Scripps’ presence in Arizona, Florida, Michigan and New York. Scripps will add its first stations in the No. 1-ranked DMA of New York City and the states of Virginia and Utah. It will now operate nine markets with more than one station, compared to four a year ago.

Scripps is acquiring:

  • WPIX, the No.5-ranked CW affiliate in New York City
  • KASW, the CW affiliate in Phoenix (which joins the Scripps ABC affiliate there)
  • WSFL, the CW affiliate in Miami–Fort Lauderdale (adjacent to the Scripps NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida)
  • KSTU, the No. 2-ranked Fox affiliate in Salt Lake City
  • WTKR, the No. 2-ranked CBS affiliate, and WGNT, the CW affiliate, in Norfolk, Virginia
  • WTVR, the No. 2-ranked CBS affiliate in Richmond, Virginia
  • WXMI, the Fox affiliate in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Ahead of the 2020 election cycle, Scripps will be even better positioned as an important platform for political advertisers, with an expanded presence in key political battleground states, including:

  • Five stations in Florida reaching approximately 67 percent of its households;
  • Four stations in Michigan reaching approximately 78 percent of its households;
  • Three stations in the two largest TV markets in Virginia – including the two stations in Norfolk and one in the state capital of Richmond.

“With these acquisitions, Scripps will reach 30 percent of U.S. television households, entering Virginia and Utah for the first time,” said Brian Lawlor, president of Local Media. “We look forward to sharing with all of these new communities Scripps’ unwavering commitment to impartial and impactful journalism.”

The stations have a combined 769 employees.

Scripps recently closed on the acquisition of the ABC television stations in Tallahassee, Florida, and Waco, Texas, owned by Raycom Media and is awaiting consent from the Federal Communications Commission on its acquisition of 15 television stations in 10 markets from Cordillera Communications.

The Scripps acquisition of the Nexstar-Tribune stations is expected to close at the same time as the Nexstar-Tribune merger.

The transaction is expected to be financed through a mix of term loans and unsecured debt and will bring the company’s total debt to $1.85 billion. Financing is being led by Morgan Stanley Senior Funding Inc. and Wells Fargo.

Methuselah Advisors and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC acted as financial advisors and BakerHostetler acted as legal counsel for Scripps.

Graham Media Group, WDIV-TV Announce New Season of “Shattered” Podcast

Graham Media Group and WDIV-TV (Detroit) has announced the new, eight-episode season of “Shattered,” an original true-crime podcast series. Season 3, hosted by Jeremy Allen, takes listeners through the heartbreaking and riveting story about Michigan’s Oakland County Child Killer case that is still unsolved 40 years later.

Between February 1976 and March 1977, four children were abducted and murdered with their bodies left in various locations within or just outside Oakland County, Michigan. The ensuing murder investigation was the largest of its kind in U.S. history at the time.

“WDIV-Local 4 has covered this case since 12-year-old Mark Stebbins first went missing in February of 1976,” says Allen. “When we opened our archives, there was raw footage of our original reporting with interviews of the parents and key people in the investigation. We’re telling this story because we hope someone has information that can finally solve these cases.”

A five-part docuseries called “Child Killer” is also available to stream on ClickOnDetroit.com and the WDIV-Local 4 app on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire and most smart TVs.

“These murders put Oakland County and the whole metro Detroit region on high alert in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was a defining moment for a whole generation of children who grew up with great fear of stranger danger,” says Marla Drutz, WDIV’s Vice President and General Manager. “We hope that reopening the vault of video and investigating every angle will help investigators solve these cases.”

From a suspected cover-up by a local millionaire to a father’s undying love, ”Shattered: Child Killer” spotlights relatives of the murdered children, investigators who worked the case, and the journalists who covered, and are still covering, the story. In the search for truth and justice, egos and confusion take over in a seemingly endless pursuit for answers.

Shattered: Child Killer” premieres on March 19, 2019. The eight episode season will release a new episode every Tuesday. The entire series will be available for free on Apple Podcasts, or your preferred podcast listening platform.

The first two seasons of “Shattered” have garnered 2.1 million downloads. Season 1 investigates the 2010 disappearance of three brothers in Morenci, Michigan. Their father said he gave the brothers to an underground organization. Seven years later, the boys’ whereabouts is not known. Season 2 takes listeners through the life of Richard Wershe, Jr., aka “White Boy Rick,” the youngest ever FBI informant turned drug dealer.

For more information, visit shatteredpodcast.com.

Memorial Service for Patti McGettigan This Saturday

Patti McGettigan

A memorial service will take place this Saturday, March 23, in Grand Rapids to celebrate the life of Patti McGettigan, a tenacious trailblazer who guided winning newsrooms from Michigan to Memphis.

The former WOOD-TV News Director passed away from cancer February 16 in Memphis at age 53.  See our original post here.

The service will take place at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Grand Rapids noon Saturday. Father Mark Przybysz will preside. Then on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., there will be a celebration of life with music and memories at Kosciusko Hall, 935 Park St. SW in Grand Rapids.

Greg Smith Named WXYZ-TV Local Sales Manager

Greg Smith

Greg Smith has been named local sales manager of E.W. Scripps’ WXYZ_TV (Detroit).  Smith is an accomplished sales executive in Metro Detroit with traditional and digital media sales and marketing experience.

Most recently, he was vice president and general manager of Cumulus Media Detroit, where he managed WDVD-FM and WDRQ-FM. He has also served as the general sales manager of Greater Media Detroit and held multiple management positions with CBS Radio Detroit.

“Greg is a results driven leader in the community with proven success in generating local media revenue,” said Tony Lamerato, WXYZ and WMYD director of sales. “We are excited to have him lead the team and we know he’ll make an immediate impact in the
market.”

“I greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with the seasoned sales professionals and valued clients at WXYZ,” said Smith. “It has always been my professional goal to work with the best news, sports and entertainment products in Metro Detroit, and at WXYZ, I
know I’ll have that chance.”

Smith graduated from Western Michigan University with a marketing degree. He started with WXYZ on March 11.

WWJ’s Mike Campbell Honored By Shelby Township Police

Mike Campbell

This past Monday night, WWJ-AM (Detroit) reporter Mike Campbell was honored for finding a missing woman with dementia.

Campbell was covering a story back in January about a missing 89-year-old woman with dementia who had wandered away from her home at 2:30 a.m.  The woman was wearing only pajamas and slippers when she disappeared.

Mike not only covered the story, he found the woman and called police.

“This is a case of being in the right place at the right time,” a modest Campbell said. “That being said, it’s very cool to be a part of that, it feels good, and it’s nice to be recognized by the Shelby Township Police Department.”

 

Brian Holmes to join Up North Radio

Brian Holmes

Up North Radio has announced that Brian Holmes will join its WBZX-FM (Big Rapids) as afternoon host, starting in April.  He will also serve as an account executive from the station as well as sister stations WCKC-FM and WCDY-FM, both based in Cadillac.

“Over 20 years ago, (WBZX co-owner) Dom (Theodore) talked of his dreams of owning his own stations. Watching him and General Manager Jen Theodore build their dream has been incredible,” Holmes said. “They have built three incredible sounding radio stations and even better, a live and local staff that feels just like family. I am honored to come on board and be a part of it all playing the ’80s and More on B103.9!”

“Brian is the rare combination of talent and true passion for great radio, and after 20-plus years of friendship and lots of great history, I’m thrilled that we get to reunite at our very own company,” said Dom Theodore.  “This is going to be some of the most fun we’ve had in years!”

Holmes worked with Theodore at WFLZ-FM (Tampa, FL) and WILN-WYYX (Panama City, FL).  Holmes had a long run as APD/night talent at WSNX-FM (Grand Rapids) from 2005-2015.

“Brian is a high impact personality who will be a great addition to the Up North Radio family,” General Manager Jen Theodore said.  “He understands the creative culture and commitment to true local radio that we are building here, and I’m thrilled that he’s teaming up with us.”

Post NAB Detroit 2019!

Key Code Media is bringing the best of the NAB 2019 show back to Detroit on Tuesday, May 21 at Punch Bowl Social … as well as over 30 leading vendors showing the latest in media and entertainment technology.

Come for the education, great food and drink and the chance to mix and mingle with fellow video professionals from the area.

Admission to the event will be by individual RSVP registration only (no walk-ups).

Skill Sessions: TBD

Exhibiting Sponsors:   Adobe, Atomos, ATTO, Avid Technology, Inc. – Audio, Avid Technology, Inc. – Video, Blackmagic Design, Clear-Com, Facilis Technology Inc., Grass Valley, IPV Limited, JVC U.S.A. Professional, LiveU, Marshall Electronics, Masstech, NewTek Inc., Panasonic, Quantum Corporation, Root6, Ross Video, ScaleLogic, SNS, Sony Electronics Inc., Spectra Logic Corporation, SquareBox – CatDV / Northshore, StorageDNA Inc., Telestream Inc., Vimeo, Vitec Group, Western Digital

Click here to register:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/postnab-detroit-2019-tickets-58610013127

Small and Medium Market Radio Forum to Debut at #NABShow

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has announced the debut of the Small and Medium Market Radio Forum at this year’s #NABShow (April 6-11).  Featured will be a town hall titled  “The Future of Small and Medium Market Radio.”

By attending the forum, you’ll get an inside look at NAB Show customized for small and medium market radio operators. This will help you navigate the show floor and sessions tailored just for you. You’ll also learn about event exhibitors who can provide unique solutions to the challenges small and medium market stations face.

It’s a valuable opportunity to network with other small and medium market broadcasters and to get more insights into NAB Show. This event is for NAB members only and is offered at no additional cost with the purchase of any registration package.  Space is limited, so you should RSVP here as soon as possible. Registration for NAB Show is required to access this event. 

In addition to the Small and Medium Market Forum, you’ll hear from NAB’s government relations, legal and technology experts and participate in round-table discussions focused on topics such as generating revenue with digital, non-traditional revenue streams, recruiting for on- and off-air talent, software solutions to generate revenue and more.

Register for a complementary Exhibits Pass or any other NAB Show registration package here using code SMMRF.

NABEF Accepting Applications for 2020 Broadcast Leadership Training Program

The NAB Education Foundation (NABEF) is accepting applications for the 2020 Broadcast Leadership Training (BLT) program. The BLT program is the foremost executive training program for the broadcast industry and is designed to prepare senior-level broadcasters to advance into ownership or executive positions.

Moving into its 20th year, the 10-month, MBA-style program guides participants through the process of assessing, purchasing, owning and operating radio and television properties. It is taught by senior-level broadcast executives, FCC staff, communications attorneys, investors and members of the banking community, as well as academic faculty from leading universities.

The BLT program comprises weekend sessions held once a month for 10 months at NAB headquarters. Participants have the opportunity to attend the NAB State Leadership Conference, NAB Show, and the NABEF Celebration of Service to America Awards.

General managers, experienced general sales managers, seasoned department heads, as well as regional and corporate executives are encouraged to apply.

Fellowship opportunities are available for women and people of color. Diversity fellowship applications are due Friday, May 31.  Register here.