Media General, Tribune to Carry Katz Diginets

Two major station owners, Media General and Tribune Media, have agreed to carry Katz Broadcasting’s digital broadcast networks on their secondary channels in a dozen additional markets.

Katz Broadcasting, under CEO Jonathan Katz, has been enlarging its collection of networks, which now include Grit, which is for male viewers; Escape, targeting women; and LAFF, a comedy channel. Digital broadcasting has been an expanding category, putting more programming into homes over the air at a time when pay-TV subscriptions are eroding.

New agreements raise carriage of Grit to 86% of the U.S. or 97 million homes, Escape to 68% or 77 million homes, and LAFF to 64% of the U.S. or 72.4 million homes.

Grit and Escape have been on the air for 12 months. The networks recently subscribed to Nielsen for ratings and began general market advertising sales. LAFF launched seven months ago.

Media General will carry Grit on WNDY-TV, Indianapolis; CWTX-TV, Hartford; WOTV, Grand Rapids; KNVA-TV, Austin and KWBQ-TV, Albuquerque. It will carry Escape on WXSP-TV, Grand Rapids; KASY-TV, Dayton and KTMJ-TV, Topeka. And it will carry LAFF on KBVO-TV, Austin; WOOD-TV, Grand Rapids; KWBQ-TV, Albuquerque; WNAC-TV, Providence; WXXA-TV, Albany WATE-TV, Knoxville, and WYFX-TV, Youngstown.

Tribune Media will launch Escape on KCPQ-TV, Seattle, KTVI-TV, St. Louis; KAUT-TV, Oklahoma City and WGNO-TV, New Orleans.

Separately, Katz Broadcasting said Grit and LAFF were recently added by KTMW-TV, Salt Lake City, owned by Serestar Communications, Escape and LAFF are on air with Lockwood Broadcasting’s WSKY-TV in Norfolk; and Escape is on Lockwood’s WBXX-TV, Knoxville.

“The addition of these powerful stations in so many strong markets widens our already robust and expansive market coverage for our three young networks,” said Jeffrey Wolf, chief distribution officer for Katz Broadcasting. “We are thrilled to welcome Media General, Tribune and others as our distribution partners. They join ABC, Univision, Scripps, Sinclair, Raycom, Cox and many of the preeminent station groups in the country who carry Grit, Escape and LAFF on prime channel locations in their top markets.”

Katz Broadcasting was launched by former Turner Broadcasting exec Jonathan Katz, who is also COO of Bounce TV, the digital broadcast network aimed at African-American viewers.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.