In a bit of corporate jujitsu, it is now WKRG-TV that has new ownership when just a few months ago it appeared its corporate parent would be buying the company that owns WALA-TV.
Last week it was announced that Nexstar Broadcasting won a $4.6 billion hostile takeover of Media General just as that company was in the midst of trying to merge with Meredith Corp. Media General owns WKRG, while Meredith owns WALA.
What the deal means for WKRG isn’t yet certain. The consolidation makes Nexstar one of the nation’s largest holders of local TV stations, with 171 in 100 markets across the country. The deal means the Nexstar group will reach 39 percent of TV households in the country, the maximum allowed under FCC broadcast ownership rules.
The musical chairs may not stop yet, as it appears Nexstar will have to shed some stations to stay within FCC ownership limits. Meredith has the right as part of the breakup of its deal with Media General to negotiate for any stations Media General must sell to get the FCC’s blessing. At this time there is no indication WKRG would be one of those sold, and it’s likely Meredith would be involved in any sale since the company already has one station in the market.
Mathews leaving NOLA
Ricky Mathews announced last week he will transition out of his position as president of NOLA Media Group, giving way to a successor as he focuses on his new position at Advance Media Southeast.
According to the announcement, Mathews will work with Advance Local, which is the parent of NOLA Media Group. Advance Media Southeast will oversee the Newhouse-owned properties in Alabama, which include al.com, the Press-Register, Birmingham News and Huntsville Times. When Advance Southeast was first announced it was also supposed to oversee properties in Mississippi and Louisiana. The announcement left it unclear whether Mathews would continue to oversee NOLA or just consult with them.
P-R reporters leaving
Two Press-Register reporters have announced their departure from the city’s thrice-weekly newspaper.
Reporters Casey Toner and Cassie Fambro Byrd are both heading into somewhat different areas. Toner took a position with the Better Government Association, a nonprofit in Chicago. He handled investigative and court reporting for the paper.
Byrd will stay in the Mobile market, but as an associate producer with a local TV station. She was not yet at liberty to say which one.
“I am most grateful for the colleagues I’ve had at AL.com during my three years with the paper, and for the ability to tell important stories. I will continue in journalism, just through another medium,” Fambro said.
No word yet on whether there are any plans to replace the reporters.