Raycom, Local TV to Swap Stations

Raycom Media and Local TV announced Tuesday that the two broadcasters will swap stations in Alabama and Kentucky.

As part of an asset exchange agreement, Raycom will acquire Local TV’s Fox affiliate WBRC Birmingham, Ala., in exchange for its CBS affiliate WTVR Richmond, Va., plus additional consideration.

Raycom had attempted to sell WTVR to Sinclair Broadcast Group earlier this year,

but the $85-million deal was blocked by the Justice Department.

“Acquiring WBRC strengthens Raycom’s position in the great State of Alabama,” said Raycom CEO Paul McTear in a joint statement. “Adding WBRC to our portfolio gives Raycom a presence in nearly every major Alabama market. This transaction allows us to complete the mandated divestiture of WTVR, Channel 6 in Richmond. We are thrilled that our employees can now put the question of ownership behind them and begin a promising future with Local TV.”

Added Local TV CEO Bobby Lawrence, “We are excited to acquire WTVR, a heritage station in the attractive Richmond market, which will strengthen our position in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We see a strong opportunity to create a Virginia-focused regional operation which will allow us to provide enhanced news coverage and service to the community. At the same time, we are sad to say farewell to our first-class group of employees at WBRC, who have done an exceptional job.”

The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2009.