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Behind Clear Channel Stations Sale

Veteran broadcaster Sandy DiPasquale, who will head up the 56 stations that Providence Equity Partners has agreed to acquire from Clear Channel for $1.2 billion, will focus on news, sales and online as he takes over their stewardship.

“I think they've done a good job on the Web, but we can continue to evolve and grow there,” said DiPasquale, outgoing president/CEO of BlueStone Television.

He singled out the Fox stations (there are eight in the deal) for “making in-roads with news” and stressed the importance of establishing the stations' relationships with their communities. He also said not to expect Providence Equity to sell the stations in the near term. “They understand the business and plan to operate them for the long haul,” he said. “Whatever business opportunities present themselves, we'll evaluate them at the time. But we're not flipping them tomorrow.”

Analysts estimated the sale price to be a 12-13 times multiple, a little higher than some would have expected. David Bank of RBC Capital Markets expects Providence Equity to remain in acquisition mode. “Absolutely, if any major media properties go on the market,” he says.

Those familiar with DiPasquale say he's a good fit. “He's passionate about television and television news and serving the community,” says Laura Clark of media-research firm Frank N. Magid Associates. “I think it's good news [for the stations].”

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.