It looks like WALA-TV will be changing hands again, as Media General announced Aug. 20 it has an agreement to sell the local Fox affiliate to Meredith Corp. for roughly $86 million.
Media General ended up owning WKRG-TV, WALA-TV and its sister station WFNA-TV when it and LIN Media merged in March. At that point there was much speculation as to how the company would handle having three stations in the same market. Eventually, the company decided to keep the station that has consistently won the ratings battle lately.
“We are happy to stay with Media General and appreciate the fact they had a choice and decided to keep us,” said WKRG News Director Mike Rausch.
It appears Media General will also keep WFNA, along with the associated digital properties. On the other side of the equation, Meredith is gaining what they believe will be a strong addition to their portfolio of 11 stations across the country – most in top 30 markets.
“The acquisition of WALA is consistent with our successful Total Shareholder Return strategy and will be immediately accretive to earnings,” Meredith Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stephen M. Lacy said in a press release. “This is a high-performing station that will add to our strong cash flow.”
The transaction won’t be complete until Media General’s merger with LIN Media is finalized and the sale of WALA receives regulatory approval.
Greg to Austin
WABD-FM’s resident gossip and prankster has decided to try his luck in a bigger media market.
Greg Hill – known to listeners as “Gossip Greg” – announced last week he’s headed to Austin, Texas in hopes of making it big in broadcast.
“Basically I’m headed to Austin to a bigger market with hopes of getting a better opportunity in radio or TV, unfortunately it couldn’t happen here in Mobile but I’m really excited and hopeful to see what Texas brings! And going to a new place is awesome also! Gossip Greg takes Texas!” he wrote when asked about his plans.
Hill has been a fixture on the “Qtip and Blondie” morning show since the beginning of last year, earning notice with his celebrity rundowns and stunts such as writing tickets as the Fashion Police. He also got a great deal of notice showing up in different places as a live version of “Elf on a Shelf” around Christmas.
Hill, 24, started his career at the station after meeting the morning show hosts at a car dealership and then going to intern at the station. While he’s had success, he’s also still had to work another job to make ends meet and believes the larger market offers opportunities Mobile can’t.
“Looking forward to the future! And I just wanna thank the awesome listeners of the Gulf Coast for accepting me in radio. And I might be leaving, but you can always keep up with me via social media,” Hill wrote.
Brannon to handle Fox10 sports
Michael Brannon has been named FOX10’s new sports reporter, filling a vacancy created when Simone Eli left in July.
Brannon has worked as a multi-platform journalist for FOX10 News since March 2013 and is a Mobile native and graduate of the University of Alabama.
In addition to his work sports reporting and anchoring for the station, Brannon will also work as a sideline reporter for the University of South Alabama Jaguars football games this fall.
“We are very excited to see Michael take on this new challenge at FOX10,” said WALA/WFNA Vice President and General Manager Gary Yoder. “As a native of South Alabama, Michael is such a natural fit for this position. He brings a love and passion for local and regional sports much like the local viewers we reach every day on FOX10 News.”
The popular statewide news and politics website Yellowhammer News has decided to really take on topics near and dear to Alabamians’ hearts – sports.
Naturally such an effort would be launched just as the cleats and jockstraps are being tightened for the next season of college football.
“Up until this point, the identity of Yellowhammer has primarily been Alabama politics, business and culture. And with the launch of Yellowhammer Sports, we aren’t resurrecting the identity of YellowhammerNews.com. But we are adding another important element to the site as we strive to reach our goal of being your go-to source of news, information and analysis on all things Alabama,” sports reporter Jonathan Biles wrote in his inaugural column.
He also said the format would be primarily columns, features and breaking news from press conferences and games.