New York Times Buying KAUT

Viacom is selling off another mid-sized market UPN station, cutting a deal with The New York Times Company for Oklahoma City UPN station KAUT. The New York Times already owns KFOR, the NBC affiliate in Oklahoma City, Nielsen’s 45th-largest TV market. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter pending FCC approval, were not disclosed.

"Our ownership of KFOR and now KAUT in Oklahoma City will enable us to achieve operating efficiencies and to offer advertisers more and varied ways to reach their audiences in the market," Janet L. Robinson, president and CEO, The New York Times Company, said in a statement. "KAUT will also help accelerate our growth in the market, benefiting viewers and advertisers as well as The New York Times Company and its shareholders."

The New York Times says it will add local news, weather and sports coverage to KAUT, although it did not specify if that would be repeats of KFOR product or programming produced specifically for the UPN station.

In recent months, Viacom has agreed to sell its UPN affiliate in New Orleans, WUPL, to Belo Corp., which runs the dominant CBS affiliate WWL, for $14.5 million. Last March, the company also cut a deal to dish off its UPN outlets in Indianapolis, Ind., and Columbus, Ohio, for $85 million to LIN Television, owner of Indianapolis CBS affiliate WISH. 

Viacom is still making strategic buys: the station recently closed a $285 million deal with Sinclair for Sacramento CBS station KOVR and combined the station with its UPN station KMAX.

The KAUT deal will give The New York Times Company its first broadcast duopoly. The company currently owns 8 stations, including WTKR Norfolk, Va., and WHO Des Moines, Iowa.