Exclusive: Nexstar Plans Local News for Marquette CBS

Nexstar plans to launch local news at WJMN Marquette (MI) after the group closes on its acquisition of it and WFRV Green Bay, says president and CEO Perry Sook.

WJMN is run as a satellite station out of WFRV and rebroadcasts the Green Bay station's programming. A skeleton crew, comprised of a salesperson and an engineer, works out of Marquette.

"We've found ways to make a lot of money on news in markets that size," says Sook. "We plan to develop a separate news presence and sales staff; local news is definitely a part of the future for that station."

Perry Kidder is president and general manager of WFRV and WJMN. He's run the stations since 1992.

John Malone's Liberty Media is the seller; both stations are CBS affiliates. Green Bay-Appleton is DMA No. 71 and Marquette is DMA No. 179. The cities are around 190 miles apart.

Nexstar agreed to pay $20 million for the pair, a figure that some feel represents a big bargain for Nexstar. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the third quarter. 

Nexstar also announced today that it was seeking to raise $50 million to expand its credit facility. 

The company's ticked up to $8.74 at presstime on the day's news, after a previous close of $8.47. 

A player even in the recent M&A drought, Sook says he'll continue to keep his eyes open for deals, even if another acquisition is not top priority. "We continue to look, but there's a very powerful case to be made to pay down debt," Sook says. "It's got to be a pretty good opportunity for us to get motivated."

Michael Malone

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.