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Ion To Acquire Roberts Broadcasting Trio

Ion Media Networks has agreed to acquire WRBU St. Louis, the MyNetworkTV affiliate in DMA No. 21. It also picked up WZRB Columbia (S.C.), the CW affiliate in DMA No. 77; and WAZE Evansville (Ind.), which had been the CW in DMA No. 104 before it went off the air.

Roberts Broadcasting, which filed for bankruptcy protection in October 2011, is the seller.

Ion will fund $7.75 million for distributions to creditors. Its plan was confirmed by bankruptcy court. Broadcast veteran Gary Chapman has been tapped to act as trustee for the stations until ownership transfers are completed.

Roberts had one other station, WRBJ Jackson (Miss.), which was sold to Trinity Broadcasting Network in the fall of 2012.

WRBU is licensed to East St. Louis, Illinois. St. Louis is currently the largest market in which Ion does not have a station.

A deal was in place for TCT Ministries to acquire WRBU for $5.5 million before the Ion plan was approved.

Roberts did not return calls for comment.