Changes Ahead In Local TV With NexStar Deal for Tribune Company?
A proposed deal by broadcast company Nexstar to buy Tribune Company for $4.1 Billion would make Nexstar the biggest local TV station operator in the country, but the deal might will mean changes in the local TV market. Nexstar owns Grand Rapids TV stations WOOD-TV, WXSP, and Battle Creek station, WOTV. Tribune Company owns WXMI (Fox17).
Aside from the expected changes that come with any ownership change, under existing Federal Communication Commission ownership rules, Nexstar would likely have to sell off one of it's West Michigan stations. However, Reuters reports that there are talks to loosen ownership limits in 2019.
Nationally, Dallas-based Nexstar owns or operates 174 stations, while Tribune owns 42, but has stations in the top three media markets (New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago) along with "superstation" WGN America, which has been trying to become a major player akin to TBS. The Chicago Tribune says it's fate is up in the air.
This deal comes months after a proposed Sinclair Broadcasting deal for Tribune fell apart with finger pointing and ugly accusations. Had that deal gone through, Kalamazoo's WWMT and WXMI would have become co-owned. In addition, both Nexstar and Sinclair own stations in Lansing.