Perhaps It WAS WHBQ That An Out of Town Company Wanted to Buy Afterall

Previously I posted on the possible sale of WREG to an out of town company.  This after an employee at a TV station in another market in the region said rumors had been floating around that the company that owns his station was considering buying a station in Memphis.  Several folks DOTR indicated that it didn’t make sense that Oak Hill/Local TV LLC would let go of what is now the Numero Uno station in the market even if Oak Hill purchased the nine Fox O&Os on the block.  WHBQ in Memphis is one of the nine stations that was listed for sale.  Well, it seems that WHBQ got pulled from the sale.  According to a heads-up I received first from P-B,  The Chicago Tribune reports that WHBQ was not among the EIGHT stations sold.  This works out well for Local TV LLC since the whole duopoly thing wouldn’t work in this case in the Memphis market for various reasons.  So, does that mean that this entity my contact was telling me about which owns a couple of Number 1 stations elsewhere along with a bunch of newspapers is now going to go for WHBQ or perhaps was heading for that direction all along?  Yah, they’d probably prefer to have WREG but then so would many companies.  But it appears if this company wants to dance, they’re going to have to do it with Fox 13 since the dance card of everyone else is filled for the moment.

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9 Comments on “Perhaps It WAS WHBQ That An Out of Town Company Wanted to Buy Afterall”

  1. The GM Says:

    So, this mysterious company wanting to buy WHBQ is . . .

    The GM

  2. joelarkins Says:

    The company I was told that supposedly is/was interested in buying WREG or perhaps WHBQ is Landmark Communications, based in Norfolk, VA. They own WTVF in Nashville and KLAS in Las Vegas (both number 1 in their market) and The Weather Channel along with about 50-newspapers and other media outlets. Since WHBQ is still available perhaps the company figures it can go for a song (relatively speaking). But originally I was told they wanted WREG. Maybe that was if Oak Hill bought WHBQ with the other Fox O&Os and would be forced to let one of the properties go. This all may be a moot point now.

  3. How can they be allowed to own TWO major network affiliates in one city?

  4. Apple Smarts Says:

    Is it possible that Fox decided to keep WHBQ?

  5. joelarkins Says:

    It IS possible but I was under the impression that Fox wanted to let go of all of it’s medium sized market stations to concentrate on the big boys and everything else it has its fingers into. I think it had to remove WHBQ from the mix because Oak Hill was ready to deal and WHBQ would have “squirreled ” that deal because of duopoly issues in Memphis with WREG.

  6. Mark Jeffries Says:

    As I understand it, Fox wanted to keep its markets where it has a duop (Fox/MyTV affiliation). Since Memphis wasn’t a duop market, ‘HBQ was on the block. They could still sell it to someone else.

  7. STEVE Says:

    Joe, you seemed to have missed the whole Tribune?Oak Hill partnership which you can find on Local TV’s website. Bet you Tribune buys ‘HBQ so in reality it’s still “all in the family.”

  8. joelarkins Says:

    Thanks for the “heads-up” No, I didn’t miss the partnership thing, it was in the Chicago paper. I guess I just wasn’t sure how that would work. If two different companies own stations but they are managed by basically one entity, is that legal? Does that violate any duopoly elements? Those are questions to be answered by someone like The GM.

  9. The GM Says:

    I don’t think the managment arrangement between Oak Hill and Tribune would violate duopoly rules. If it did, they have enough legal/lobbying power to get a waiver.

    I do think many on this blog underrate the value of WHBQ in Memphis. This station is one of the stronger FOX stations in the US. With Memphis being a majority African American city and with WHBQ’s programming mix, FOX13 could very well be #1 some day soon. No, I’m not into the egg nog. Just look at how strong WLMT was as a UPN and how the switch to CW affected their numbers. Strong ethnic programming on both the network and syndication side pays off.

    If I had a choice, I’d rather own/run WHBQ — from a pure money perspective. WREG has too much legacy in the form of high news costs. I also believe the internal culture of “we’ve always done it this way” would be more difficult to change than a hungry WHBQ.

    Happy New Year!
    The GM

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