After announcing an agreement
in October that sees Media General's WJBF Augusta (Ga.) handle sales, news and operational
services for Schurz's NBC affiliate WAGT Augusta, Media General says it's keen
to line up similar deals around the country.
Addressing investors on an earnings call yesterday, Media
General President/CEO Marshall Morton said the Augusta partnership had begun, and the media
company was interested in inking similar deals.
"Since announcing that joint operating agreement, we've been
approached by broadcasters in other markets about similar arrangements," he
said. "We'll keep you posted of developments in these areas where we see good
Groups such as Nexstar are bullish on the shared services
strategy, where a station receives a fee for providing operational support and
news product to another station in the market. Gray Television, for one, is
awaiting approval on a deal to manage seven Young-owned stations; that verdict
may be coming in the next few weeks.
Besides their Joint Sales/Shared Services Agreements, WJBF
and WAGT are also working on a plan to share facilities in the #114 DMA.
General announced a 17% dip in broadcast revenues for the fourth quarter
yesterday, compared to the fourth quarter a year ago. But Morton said the
company has some wind in its sails. "I'm pleased to report today that business
continued to improve as the quarter unfolded," he said. "In the month of
December, total revenues were essentially even with the equivalent month of
2008, and four of our six market segments generated higher revenues."