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FCC Approves Nexstar Deal For Grant Stations

Nexstar Broadcasting Group has gained FCC approval for its $87.5 million acquisition of the Grant Company licenses, which it agreed to acquire last November. The stations are WFXR-WWCW Roanoke, WZDX Huntsville, KGCW-KLJB in the Quad Cities (IA), and WLAX-WEUX in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. Nexstar will spin off KLJB to minority-owned Marshall Broadcasting Group (MBG), calling it "an important step in fulfilling Nexstar's commitment to incubate broadcast station ownership by minority-owned companies, which is also a key FCC initiative."

"We are pleased to announce approval of an accretive transaction to benefit Nexstar shareholders," said Perry Sook, Nexstar chairman/president/CEO. "As a result of this approval, Nexstar will lead the industry in incubating a new, minority-controlled entrant to broadcasting and bringing additional news, information and specialized programming to markets where MBG will operate."

Sook, who challenged the FCC to approve the deal during his B&C Hall of Fame induction speech October 20, called the arrangement "a model to increase media ownership diversity while extending Nexstar's long-term, well-documented initiatives to serve the public interests and needs of local viewers, hometown businesses, and organizations in the markets where we operate."

In June, Nexstar agreed to sell three Fox affiliates to Marshall: KMSS Shreveport, KPEJ Odessa-Midland and KLJB. Pluria Marshall, Jr. is president and CEO of MBG.

"We are delighted to secure the approval from the FCC and the support of Nexstar as we move forward in diversifying the ownership of media assets among minority operators," he said. "This is a great day for Americans, minorities, MBG and Nexstar as equality of media asset ownership is as important as equality is in all facets of the country.  We applaud the FCC for its forward thinking approach to providing appropriate guidelines and structure that enable new entrants to own, operate and program television 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.