Roberts Broadcasting Files For Bankruptcy

UPDATED: St. Louis-based Roberts Broadcasting has filed for bankruptcy. Roberts owns four TV stations: WRBU St. Louis, WAZE Evansville, WZRB Columbia (SC) and WRBJ Jackson -- a MyNetworkTV affiliate and three CWs, respectively.

Roberts Broadcasting's Chapter 11 plans were previously reported in St. Louis Business Journal.

The lawyer representing Roberts Broadcasting, A. Thomas DeWoskin of Danna McKitrick, has confirmed the Chapter 11 reorganization.

Roberts President Steven Roberts cited the demise of the UPN network, which all four stations were initially affiliated with, as a factor in Roberts Broadcasting's tough times.

"UPN's minority-oriented programming fit nicely with each station's demographics and with its potential advertisers," he said. "To our surprise, UPN folded shortly after these stations started broadcasting, which threw off all of our business plans. Fortunately, those problems are behind us and the stations are beginning to become profitable. It was difficult make the decision to file these cases, but the provisions of Chapter 11 will allow us to deal with the old debts, preserve the jobs of about 50 employees and continue to service these communities."

Earlier this year, Warner Bros. leveled a lawsuit against Roberts Broadcasting over unpaid syndication fees. Roberts faced legal action from the likes of Twentieth Century Fox and CBS Television Distribution in recent years over syndication fees as well.

Roberts Broadcasting parent Robert Cos. is a major real estate player.

Roberts Broadcasting said it aims to have its reorganization plans prepared within the next six months.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.