12-07-2016  2:39 am      •     
McMenamins
Pluria Marshall

Federal regulators on Thursday approved the sale of two FOX TV affiliates to longtime media executive Pluria Marshall Jr., president and CEO of Houston-based Marshall Broadcasting Group (MBG).

Marshall, also publisher of Wave Publications Group in Los Angeles, will acquire Fox affiliates KPEJ-TV in Odessa, Texas and KMSS-TV in Shreveport, La., officials from the Federal Communications Commission announced.

FCC officials approved the sale of KLJB in Quad Cities/Davenport, Iowa to Marshall Broadcasting last month. The three stations are part of a $58.5 million purchase agreement between Marshall Broadcasting and Nexstar.

The license transfer to Marshall Broadcasting was one of several approved transactions that will result in 10 new minority- and women-owned stations, FCC officials said. Thursday’s approval makes Marshall Broadcasting one of the largest minority owners of full-power, commercial TV stations in the nation.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said the license transfers announced Thursday represent an important step in fulfilling the FCC’s commitment to incubate broadcast station ownership by minority-owned companies.

“Increasing minority ownership of television broadcast stations has been an often-stated, but elusive goal,” they said in a statement released Thursday. “While there is widespread agreement on the need for progress, there has been very little by way of new ideas to solve the twin problems of access and opportunity.

“With the Media Bureau’s approval of several transactions today, however, we see the emergence of new ownership models that will not only bring more independent voices to the station ownership ranks in a manner that promotes diversity, competition, and localism,” the statement read.

Perry A. Sook, chairman, president and Chief Executive Officer of Nexstar Broadcasting Group, has said that the transactions complements Nexstar’s strategic focus on localism, including expanded local news, sports and other programming.

He said, “The MBG transaction serves as a model to increase media ownership diversity while extending Nexstar’s long-term, well-documented initiatives to serve the public interests and needs of local viewers, hometown businesses, and organizations in the markets where we operate.

“As a result of this approval, Nexstar will lead the industry in incubating a new, minority-controlled entrant to broadcasting and bringing additional news, information and specialized programming to markets where MBG will operate.”

Marshall, president and CEO of MBG, said he is “delighted to secure the approval from the FCC and the support of Nexstar” as the two companies seek to diversify the ownership of media assets among minority operators.

“We applaud the FCC for its forward-thinking approach to providing appropriate guidelines and structure that enable new entrants to own, operate and program television stations,” Marshall has said.

The Texas native also said he looks forward to playing an active role in the three communities his stations serves while “developing minority-oriented public affairs programming that will air on MBG stations and be syndicated to other television stations nationwide.”

The three Marshall Broadcasting acquisitions have been endorsed by several media monitors and by members of the Congressional Black Caucus because they would significantly boost the number of Black-owned TV stations in America, provide broader career options for Blacks in television and create an opportunity for more diverse and increased local programming in broadcasting.

Wheeler said Thursday’s approvals represent “clear-eyed market-based solutions to the longstanding challenge of low minority broadcast ownership.”

“We look forward to the continued expansion of minority ownership of broadcast stations and invite the participation of all stakeholders in working toward this goal,” the statement said.

Before the recent approvals, only a handful of the nation’s 1,300-plus full-power, commercial TV stations were Black-owned, officials say. The other transactions approved Thursday include:

  • WEVV-TV, Evansville, Indiana to DuJuan McCoy, CEO of Bayou City Broadcasting Evansville, Inc.
  • WMMP(TV), Charleston, South Carolina, WCFT(TV), Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and WJSU-TV, Anniston, Alabama to Howard Stirk Holdings, LCC, which is owned and controlled by Armstrong Williams.
  • KJCT(TV), Grand Junction, CO, KXJB(TV), Valley City, ND, KAQY(TV), Columbia, LA, and KNHL(TV), Hastings, NE to MMTC Media and Telecom Brokers, the brokerage arm of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council.

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