The Sale of a Powerhouse Station in Tennessee Augers In, and A Tip of the Hat to a Memphis TV Guy!

It appears the credit/banking crisis put the brakes on a planned TV sale in Nashville bringing everything to a screeching halt.  And I would venture a guess that the good folks at WTVF are actually breathing a sign of relief.  Here is the first line of the release: Landmark Media Enterprises, LLC has terminated the agreement to sell WTVF, Nashville to Bonten Media Group Inc. following Bonten’s notification to Landmark that due to financing issues it would not be able to close on the acquisition on time.

WTVF is the powerhouse station in Nashville and has had a running battle for years with WSMV for the top spot.  It would have been THE largest market the Bonten Media Group owned with most of the stations in much smaller markets.  Here’s a list of those: 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.

I don’t know this for a fact but I think it’s safe to say the climate around WTVF would change dramatically with the new owners.  I don’t think there would be a large infusion of cash for things such as more HD gear and the high tech toys along with the budget that keeps WTVF running at the head of the pack.  So, for now, Landmark Media will hang on  to this station and to my knowledge, there is still no buyer for KLAS in Las Vegas which is also a powerhouse station.  What happens now?  I’m not sure many operations are looking to buy unless they get a property at a bargain basement price and I doubt seriously if Landmark is going to give away anything for less than top dollar.  Why would they want to.

A tip of the hat to Austen Onek, weather guy/ meteorologist for WREG.  I’ve known Austen for more years than he probably wants to remember.  Austen is still the only guy I know who signs off on his emails in Latin.  Also, his sense of humor is as dry as a good martini.  Why am I heaping praise on AO.  Because Austen took time from his schedule to show up for the annual Community Leader Breakfast at The Bodine School in Germantown where I volunteer my time.  AO’s presence was greatly appreciated by the kids, the teachers and the faculty and by me.  Last year, Cameron Harper of WPTY/WLMT was invited and received a tour of the school.  CH also rates high on my list.  He also brought a videographer and they aired a segment on The Bodine School.  There were others from the local media invited.  They DIDN’T show up.  Hey, stuff happens.  I understand that.  But it really is a big deal for those NOT in the media to see those IN the media show up.  It warms the cockles of my heart.  So again, thanks Austen.  You made some kids happy and you made me proud.

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3 Comments on “The Sale of a Powerhouse Station in Tennessee Augers In, and A Tip of the Hat to a Memphis TV Guy!”

  1. Doug Johnson Says:

    Considering that NBC will be giving Landmark several BILLION dollars for the Weather Channel, and that Landmark has historically been frugal, it would be my guess that they’d at least maintain the status quo (THERE’S YOUR LATIN, BUDDY) at TVF and LAS for the time being. They might even be willing to keep the sale to Bonten pending until the credit crisis works itself out.

    Vestri TV amicus,

    Doug J.

  2. JD Says:

    Hi Joe!
    I think I may have mentioned this before, but I can remember one Saturday morning when Austin had to fill in for the day break “talking heads.” Besides the weather, I can honestly say I look forward to him doing it again. His delivery was just as calm and collected as his weather segment and it also made you pay attention. Maybe they will let him do it again when the regulars oversleep or forget they have a real job to be on time for!

  3. Ferd Says:

    Austin is underated as a weatherman in the Memphis market. He appeals to us techno -brainy types that reall will look for Mars, Venus, space station, or the latest meteor shower at 3am.


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