Gray Television revealed Thursday it has made deals to sell stations in three markets to facilitate regulatory approval of its previously announced acquisition of Schurz Communications’ TV station inventory. Gray will acquire three additional stations, bringing the total number of markets with owned and/or operated network affiliated stations to 50.
In Wichita, Kan. (DMA No. 65), Gray is selling KAKE to Lockwood Broadcast Group to make room for Schurz’s KWCH and KSCW, the CBS and CW affiliates, respectively. The deal with Lockwood is in exchange for WCXX-TV, the CW affiliate in Knoxville, Tenn. (DMA No. 62), and $11.2 million in cash. Gray already owns CBS affiliate WVLT-TV in Knoxville.
“[W]e are not in the best position to be long-term stewards of KAKE-TV despite its impressive recent competitive inroads,” said Hilton H. Howell, Jr., president and CEO, Gray TV. “We will watch with admiration as the station builds on its recent improvements under Lockwood. KAKE-TV has great employees, and we know they will continue to succeed in the future.”
Because it already owns NBC affiliate WNDU-TV in South Bend, Ind., Gray is selling Schurz’s CBS affiliate WSBT-TV in DMA No. 96 to Sinclair Broadcast Group for WLUC-TV in Marquette, Mich. WLUC, the No. 1 ranked and highest grossing station in DMA No. 180, is an NBC affiliate, with a Fox subchannel.
"As the clear market leader in news, ratings, and revenue, WLUC TV6 is a perfect fit for Gray as well as a fantastic addition to the network of very strong Gray stations across Michigan and Wisconsin," Howell said.
In the Rapid City, S.D. (DMA No. 171), Gray owns Fox affiliate KEVN-TV and Schurz owns ABC affiliate KOTA-TV. As such, Gray is selling KOTA to Legacy Broadcasting (for one dollar) except for assets used for its ABC program stream, which it intends to transition to KEVN.
Gray, which previously announced it will acquire Schurz’s KTUU-TV, the NBC affiliate in Anchorage, Ala. (DMA No. 148), recently made a deal with Firewood Communications to acquire DMA No. 148’s MyNet affiliate KYES-TV for $500,000. Gray will apply for a “failing station” waiver with the FCC in order to combine KTUU and KYES.