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'Huge Media Merger' Among Montgomery Stations

Three stations in Montgomery, Alabama are sharing resources to make for what the trio calls "an unmatched television powerhouse of stations." Bahakel Communications' CBS affiliate WAKA joins with CW affiliate WBMM, which Bahakel is acquiring from SagamoreHill Broadcasting, and SagamoreHill's ABC affiliate WNCF in what it calls a "time sales and shared services agreement."

"SagamoreHill will retain responsibility for WNCF's programming, personnel and finances," reported, while Bahakel will provide sales, administrative, production and technical services to the station.

Terms of the acquisition, which is subject to FCC approval, were not revealed. The agreements begin immediately.

Montgomery is DMA No. 117. Raycom's WSFA is a big market leader there.

The trio will be based in the current home of WNCF and WBMM next year.

TVSpy previously reported the merger.

Jesse Grear, who has been general manager at WNCF-WBMM, will run all three stations. "[I] was very excited about this unique opportunity and very appreciative of the confidence that the family and Bahakel management team has expressed in me by providing me this opportunity," he said. "We intend to continue the tradition that Jim Caruthers has established at WAKA in providing a superior service to our viewers and advertisers."

On July 5, WAKA reported that Caruthers is retiring as GM at the end of the year, citing his desire to spend more time with family.

Louis Wall, president and CEO of SagamoreHill, said both the sale of WBMM and the other agreements pertaining to WNCF "are in the best interests of Montgomery viewers and the other communities in the region. Bahakel is a quality broadcaster and has served the market extremely well for nearly 30 years. We look forward to working with Bahakel and developing outstanding local news and information programming in the coming months and years."

Bahakel is headquartered in Charlotte.