Turns Out It’s “Someone Else”

Roll the Breaking News Open, none of the stations in Memphis will have a sister station in Nashville afterall.

According to a news release from Landmark Communications which owns WTVF and KLAS, the new owner is Bonten Media Group:  Here is the release:

Landmark Communications announced today that it has agreed to sell NewsChannel 5 (WTVF), located in Nashville, TN, to Bonten Media Group. NewsChannel 5, a CBS affiliate, is the leading television station in the Nashville market, and the #1 rated CBS station in the top 30 markets in the U.S. NewsChannel 5 also operates a 24 hour local-on-cable news channel and an online business in addition to the television station.. Landmark Chairman and CEO Frank Batten, Jr. commented, “We are very proud of NewsChannel 5’s outstanding service to the Nashville region. We deeply appreciate the high level of professionalism, innovation and commitment to news excellence and community service that Debbie Turner, the President and General Manager of NewsChannel 5, and her team provide. Bonten Media Group, which has a strong track record in broadcasting, inherits a wonderful station and group of superb professionals, and we expect NewsChannel 5 will continue to grow and excel.” The sale, which is expected to close later this year after FCC approval, is part of a process that Landmark announced in January to explore strategic alternatives, including the sale of Landmark’s businesses.

And here is what Bonten had to say:

NEW YORK, NY – Bonten Media Group Inc. today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire NewsChannel 5 Network, LLC, the owner and operator of CBS affiliate WTVF-TV in Nashville, TN, from entities owned by Landmark Communications. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.  Bonten Media Group is a leading television broadcasting company that currently operates sixteen* full power, low power and digital television stations in eight markets across the United States. Bonten Media Group was formed in 2006 by Diamond Castle Holdings, LLC, a New York based private equity firm with $1.85 billion of capital under management, and Randall D. (Randy) Bongarten, a veteran broadcasting executive and former President of Emmis Television, as a platform to acquire and operate local television stations. “We are thrilled to add WTVF, a market-leading CBS affiliate, to Bonten Media Group’s portfolio of high performing television stations,” said Randy Bongarten, Chairman and CEO of Bonten Media Group. “This acquisition reflects our confidence in the future of WTVF in particular and of local television in general. We are strong believers in television as the most powerful advertising medium to reach local audiences. WTVF’s management team and employees have done a fantastic job developing and managing a strong operation that is well-positioned for continued success.”

And for those looking for what other stations owned by Bonten, here they are:

Bonten Media Group was formed in November 2006 by Diamond Castle Holdings, LLC and Randy Bongarten for the purpose of acquiring and operating local television stations in the United States. Bonten Media Group currently operates sixteen* full power, low power and digital television stations in eight markets, including: WCYB (NBC), WEMT* (FOX) and CW-4 (CW-DT), Tri-Cities, TN/VA; WCTI (ABC), WFXI/WYDO* (FOX) and ENC-TV (IND-DT), Greenville-New Bern, NC; KRCR (ABC), Chico-Redding, CA; KTXS (ABC), KTES-LP (Telemundo) and CW Abilene (CW-DT), Abilene, TX; KECI/KCFW (NBC), Missoula, MT; KTVM (NBC), Butte-Bozeman, MT; KTXE-LP (ABC), San Angelo, TX; and KAEF (ABC), Eureka, CA.

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2 Comments on “Turns Out It’s “Someone Else””

  1. Doug J. Says:

    TV5 has been a very well-run station for a long time, and while there are people there who pre-date Landmark ownership, as far as I could tell, everyone appreciated the way the company was run. It was probably easier to lavish attention on your local stations when there are only 2 in the entire company.

    I don’t know anything about Bonten Media, but “private equity group” and “leading television broadcasting company” only tend to be used to describe the same company when that company is describing itself. This outfit could be the exception to the what might be expected from private equity groups. I hope so; I’ve got friends at WTVF.

  2. the tall tv guy Says:

    It sounds like Bonten has purchased small market stations in it’s history. I remember being in Abilene over 20 years ago, and had a friend who worked at KTXS. The man who owned the station operated it on a shoestring.

    Purchasing WTVF is a move up for them. Back in the late ’70’s, I went to school in Bowling Green, and the cable system picked up the Nashville stations. It appeared to be the most popular and successful channel there.

    Private equity firms are an interesting bunch. I worked as a contract person at a service company. While they’re committed publicly to a presence in Memphis, there’s a study of every department to outsource areas to a third party (India?).

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