B&C’s Top 25 Station Groups 2010

NAB 2010: Complete Coverage from B&C

TV stations, which once represented the hub of local media, are now one choice among many. In the past decade, the media have fractured into smaller and smaller parts, with viewers and revenue alike scattering to cable and the Internet, to the iPad, Twitter and Foursquare.

But while TV station groups have less power over things like market share as a result of the diffused media landscape, heft is still quite helpful. Station group size is important in retransmission consent, syndication and talent negotiations. Economies of scale are another result of being big.

TV stations remain the biggest media brand in any local market, and the more top local brands a group has, the better it’s positioned in retrans negotiations with multichannel video providers. “If a group is big, it has a lot more leverage in retrans arguments,” says Justin Nielson, analyst at SNL Kagan Research, which helped B&C assemble the data for this year’s Top 25 list.

Many of the bigger groups have several stations carried on cable systems owned by one cable operator. Those groups have an advantage in that they can cut one deal with one operator and then apply that deal to every other operator, according to Larry Patrick, managing partner of media investment firm Patrick Communications. “Those groups can walk in and say to Comcast or Time Warner, ‘Here’s the deal; we’d like to do one blanket agreement that affects all of our stations,’” Patrick says. “They can then take that deal to every other cable company on their list.”

Group size alone gives some broadcasters an edge in retrans negotiations, but the size of the group’s individual stations and the markets in which they are located has an even bigger effect on the company’s leverage. For example, groups such as Belo and LIN are not the country’s biggest, but they run top-notch stations in solid markets that cable operators are loath to lose.

Station groups get another bonus for being big when it comes to buying syndicated programming. In general, there are five groups—ABC, CBS, NBC, Tribune and Fox—that syndicators must work with when trying to clear any new show. These groups, often referred to as the “five families,” own the biggest stations in the biggest markets. Once those groups establish terms of the deal, the rest of the country is forced to follow suit.

For off-network sitcoms, Tribune and Fox have all the leverage because they are the only two groups in the sitcom business in the nation’s top markets. This doesn’t apply to some of the country’s biggest groups—Ion, Univision, Trinity—because they don’t play much in the syndication world, although in the past two years Ion has picked up shows such as CBS Television Distribution’s Ghost Whisperer and Criminal Minds to run in primetime.

Size also creates economies of scale, which helps when groups are negotiating with equipment and service vendors such as Nielsen, The Associated Press and Frank N. Magid Associates.

Large station groups additionally offer a lot of options to new talent. “If I’m a talent that wants to grow, I might go to work for a company like Hearst. I might start in Omaha but end up in [a major Hearst market like Pittsburgh],” Patrick says. “The ability to groom and grow your own people is important.”

The CBS-owned group, for one, plans to launch an in-house Website this year to help talent find new positions within the CBS family. Broadcast insiders say that retaining strong talent is key to a group’s long-term health.

“If you are a big enough group, you have a really good farm system and that’s good for your future,” says Mark Fratrik, VP of consulting firm BIAfn. “You can use that to hone the skills of your people and transfer information around the country.”

1 Ion Media Networks

(Privately held)

63.9% coverage
58 stations

Ion Media Networks
601 Clearwater Park Rd.
West Palm Beach, FL
(561) 659-4122
Website: www.iontelevision.com

Brandon Burgess
Chairman and CEO

2 Univision Television Group

(Privately held by Broadcasting Media Partners, an investor group including Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Saban Capital Group, Thomas H. Lee Partners and TPG)

42% coverage
37 stations

605 Third Ave.
New York, NY 10158
(212) 455-5200
Website: www.univision.net

Joe Uva
CEO and president

3 CBS Corp.


38.4% coverage
29 stations

51 W. 52nd St.
New York, NY 10019
(212) 975-4321
Websites: Cbslocal.com; www.cbscorporation.com

Sumner M. Redstone
Executive chairman

Leslie Moonves

Peter Dunn
President, CBS Television Stations

4 Fox Television Stations

(NWS; subsidiary of News Corp.)
37.1% coverage
27 full-power stations

1211 Avenue of the
Americas, 21st Floor
New York, NY 10036
(212) 301-5400
Website: www.newscorp.com

K. Rupert Murdoch
Chairman, News Corp.
Roger Ailes
Chairman/CEO, Fox News; Chairman, Fox Television Stations; Chairman, Twentieth Television
Jack Abernethy
CEO, Fox Television Stations
Dennis Swanson
President, Fox Television Station Operations

5 NBC/General Electric

(GE; Comcast in process of acquiring a 51% interest in NBC)
36.6% coverage
26 stations, including NBC and Telemundo

30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
(212) 664-4444
Website: www.nbclocalmedia.com

Jeffrey Immelt
Chairman/CEO, GE
Jeff Zucker
President/CEO, NBC Universal
John Wallace
President, NBC Local Media Division

6 Trinity Broadcasting

35.9% coverage
25 stations

2442 Michelle Drive
Tustin, CA 92780
(714) 832-2950
Website: www.tbn.org

Paul F. Crouch
Paul Crouch Jr.
Chief of staff

7 Tribune Co.

35.1% coverage
23 stations
435 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 222-3333
Fax: (312) 329-0611
Website: www.tribune.com

Sam Zell
Chairman, Tribune Co.
Randy Michaels
President and CEO, Tribune Co.
Ed Wilson
President, Tribune Broadcasting Co.

8 ABC TV Stations Group

23.3% coverage
10 stations
77 W. 66th St.
New York, NY 10023
(212) 456-7777
Websites: corporate.disney.go.com; abclocal.go.com

Robert Iger
President/CEO, The Walt Disney Co.
Walter Liss
President, ABC Owned Television Stations

9 Sinclair Broadcast Group

21.6% coverage
57 stations
10706 Beaver Dam Rd.
Hunt Valley, MD 21030
(410) 568-1500
Fax: (410) 568-1533
Website: www.sbgi.net
David D. Smith
Steven M. Marks
VP/COO, television

10 Gannett Broadcasting

18.2% coverage
23 stations
7950 Jones Branch Drive
McLean, VA 22107
(703) 854-6000
Website: www.gannett.com
Craig A. Dubow
Chairman/CEO, Gannett Co.
Gracia C. Martore
President/COO, Gannett Co.
David Lougee
President, Gannett Broadcasting

11 Hearst Corp./Hearst Television

18% coverage
34 stations
300 W. 57th St.
New York, NY 10019
(212) 887-6800
Fax: (212) 887-6875
Website: www.hearsttelevision.com
Frank A. Bennack Jr.
Vice chairman and CEO, Hearst Corp.
David Barrett
President/CEO, Hearst-Argyle Television

12 Multicultural Capital Trust

16.7% coverage
5 stations
449 Broadway
New York, NY 10013
(212) 966-1059
Website: www.mrbi.net
Arthur Liu
Lee W. Shubert

13 Belo Corp.

14.5% coverage
22 stations
400 S. Record St.
Dallas, TX 75202-4841
(214) 977-6606
Website: www.belo.com
Dunia Shive
Peter Diaz
Executive VP, television operations

14 Entravision (EVC)

12.5% coverage
25 stations
2425 Olympic Blvd.,
Suite 6000 W
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 447-3870
Website: www.entravision.com
Walter F. Ulloa
Philip C. Wilkinson

15 Raycom Media

12.1% coverage
38 stations
RSA Tower, 20th Floor
201 Monroe St.
Montgomery, AL 36104
(334) 206-1400
Website: www.raycommedia.com
Paul McTear

16 Nexstar Broadcasting

11.1% coverage
54 stations
5215 N. O'Connor Blvd,
Suite 1400
Irving, TX 75039
(972) 373-8800
Website: www.nexstar.tv
Perry A. Sook
Matt Devine

17 Local TV LLC

(Private; owned by Oak Hill Capital Partners)
10.8% coverage
19 stations
1717 Dixie Highway
Suite 650
Fort Wright, KY 41011
(859) 448-2700
Website: www.localtvllc.com
Bobby Lawrence

18 Cox Media Group

10.4% coverage
15 stations
6205 Peachtree
Dunwoody Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30328
(678) 645-0000
Website: www.coxenterprises.com
James C. Kennedy
Chairman/CEO, Cox Enterprises
Jimmy W. Hayes
President/COO, Cox Enterprises
Sanford Schwartz
President, Cox Media Group

19 Newport Television

(Private; owned by Providence Equity Partners)
10% coverage
29 stations
460 Nichols Rd., Suite
Kansas City, MO 64112
(816) 751-0200
Website: www.newporttv.com
Sandy DiPasquale,

20 E.W. Scripps Co.

9.9% coverage
10 stations
312 Walnut St.
Scripps Center 2800
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 977-3000
Website: scripps.com
Richard Boehne
Brian Lawlor
Senior VP, TV

21 Liberman Broadcasting

9.7% coverage
4 stations
1845 Empire Ave.
Burbank, CA 91504
(818) 729-5300
Jose Liberman
Founder, president

22 Meredith Corp.

9.1% coverage
11 stations
1716 Locust St.
Des Moines, IA 50309
(515) 284-3000
Stephen M. Lacy
Chairman, president, CEO
Paul Karpowicz
President, Meredith Local Media Group

23 LIN Television Corp.

8.5% coverage (FCC)
27 stations
1 W. Exchange St.
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 457-9501
Website: www.lintv.com
Vincent Sadusky
Scott Blumenthal
Executive VP, television

24 Media General


8.3% coverage
18 stations
333 E. Franklin St.
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 649-6000
Website: www.mediageneral.com
J. Stewart Bryan III
Chairman, Media General
Marshall N. Morton
James A. Zimmerman
VP, Media General; president, Broadcast Division

25 Post-Newsweek

(WPO; subsidiary of The Washington Post Co.)
7.4% coverage
6 stations
550 W. Lafayette Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48226-3123
(313) 223-2260
Website: www.washpostco.com
Donald E. Graham
Chairman/CEO, The Washington Post Co.
Alan Frank
President/CEO, Post-Newsweek Stations

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.