Gray Television
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Gray Television
Gray Television, Inc.
Formerly
Gray Communications Systems, Inc.
Public
Traded as
IndustryBroadcast television
Founded1946 (1946)
FounderJames Gray
Headquarters,
Area served
Key people
  • Hilton H Howell, Jr.
  • (Executive chaiman, CEO)
  • Pat LaPlatney
  • (President, Co-CEO)
Products148 terrestrial TV stations
RevenueIncrease$1.084 billion USD (2018)
Increase$388.7 million USD (2018)
Increase$210.8 million USD (2018)
IncreaseUS$4.21 billion USD (2018)
IncreaseUS$1.187 billion USD (2018)
Number of employees
7,371 (2019)
Websitegray.tv
Footnotes / references
[1][2]

Gray Television, Inc. is an American publicly traded television broadcasting company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1946 by James Harrison Gray as Gray Communications Systems, the company owns or operates 145 stations across the United States, based primarily in small- and medium-sized markets.

History

James H. Gray started his communication business with the purchase of The Albany Herald in 1946 after he returned from World War II. Gray launched WALB-TV in 1954. In 1960, Gray purchased WJHG-TV in Panama City, FL, and followed it later in the decade with KTVE serving Monroe, LA and southern Arkansas.[3][4]

In 1986 Gray died, leaving his 50.5% share of the stock in a trust for his children with stipulation that they run the business together, sell their stock with each other or sell out together.[4] This caused difficulties as two of the three wanted to sell with the third unable to purchase. In 1991, to break the stalemate, the board of directors had the company purchase 25% of their shares.[3][4]

Gray Communication Systems

The company was then taken public on NASDAQ's small-cap market in the 2nd quarter 1992. The price per share dropped to $8. The company put itself-or any part up-for sale by the end of 1992. While the board of directors received about 40 offers, Bull Run Corporation purchased the remaining shares of the Gray siblings, who as part of the deal resigned from the board.[3][4]

New management was put in place at all three TV stations. Bull Run Corporation, primarily owned by J. Mack Robinson, decided to make Gray a Southeast regional media company, expanding its focus beyond the state of Georgia.[4] Gray purchased two TV stations (WKYT-TV and WYMT) from the failed and government seized Kentucky Central Life Insurance Co. in September 1994 after a court challenge to the sale by Kentucky Central builder Garvie Kincaid.[3]

In 1994 and 1995, Gray purchased two newspapers, the Rockdale Citizen (acquired May 31, 1994) and Gwinnett Post-Tribune (acquired January 1995; quickly renamed Gwinnett Daily Post) and seven advertising weeklies. In 1995, the company moved its stock listing to the New York Stock Exchange. By this time, Robinson, directly or through Bull Run, owned 44% of the company's stock. Gray had started to focus on its TV station segment over the newspaper holding while TV produced more income and the newspapers' income were declining. Just months after doubling the Daily Posts staff, one third were laid off and a quarter of The Albany Heralds staff followed in January 1996. Newspaper leaders resigned during this period–from the corporate president in late 1995 to the Citizens editor and publisher.[3]

Fiscal
Year
Revenue
millions
Net Income
(Loss) millions[3]
1994 $36.5 $2.8
1995 58.6 .9
1996 79.3 2.5
1997 103.5 (1.4)[5]
1998 128.8 41.6[5]
1999 143.9 (6.3)[5]
2000 120.6 (6.2)[6]
2001 106.4 (13.3)[6]
2002 146.7 (27.8)[6]
2003 243.0 14.0[7]
2004 293.2 44.2[7]
2005 261.5 3.3[7]
2006 332.1 11.7[8]
2007 307.2 (23.1)[8]
2008 327.1 (202.0)[8]
2009 270.3 (23.0)[8]
2010 346.0 23.1[8]
2011 307.1 9.0[9]
2012 404.8 28.1[9]
2013 346.2 18.2[9]
2014 508.1 48.0[9]
2015 597.3 39.3[9]
2016 812.4 62.2[10]
2017 882.7 261.9[10]
2018 1,084.1 210.8[11]

In 1996, Gray added additional TV stations while entering additional communication industry segments. The company was considered in 1996 by Fortune magazine as the 81st fastest growing company, having a 48% percent growth rate. WRDW-TV was purchased in January 1996. In September 1996 a basket purchase from First American Media, Inc., Gray got two TV stations (WCTV and WVLT-TV), Satellite and Production Business Services, which was renamed Lynqx Communications and PortaPhone paging business.[3]

In August and September 1996, Gray raised additional operating funds by various means. On August 20, KTVE was sold for cash and accounts receivable. The company issued and sold Class B common stock (through a public offering), senior subordinated notes and preferred stock in September. Also, a new bank credit facility was arranged. This brought the company total to $534.5 million in available funds with $409.5 million directly available.[3]

Also in September 1996, Ralph Gabbard, the newly named president and CEO, died from a heart attack at age 50. Robinson, Bull Run's chair, took over as interim CEO and president with Bull Run CEO Robert Prather as interim executive vice-president, acquisitions.[3]

With its additional funds, Gray continued purchasing in 1997 with two announcements in January and February. The company bought Gulflink Communications, Inc., a transportable satellite uplink business based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in April 1997 to go along with Lynqx. With Raycom Media acquiring a station from AFLAC Broadcast Group, Inc., forcing them to sell WITN-TV to Gray, which was finalized on August 1, 1997. The Gwinnett Daily Post increased circulation in 1997 through a deal with Genesis Cable Communications to provide the paper to its metro Atlanta subscribers at Genesis's expense.[3]

In 1998, Gray started to expand beyond its Southeast region. As the company agreed to purchase the Busse Broadcasting Corporation, which owned KOLN, KGIN-TV and WEAU. Gray's ownership of a newspaper and TV station in Albany, Georgia while grandfathered was examined under the Media cross-ownership rule of the FCC due to this potential purchase.[3] WALB was thus sold to Liberty Corp.'s Cosmos Broadcasting in August 1998.[4][12]

In 2002, Robinson became Chairman and CEO, his son-in-law Hilton Howell vice chairman, Prather president/COO and Jim Ryan senior vice president. They had Gray purchase 14 Benedek Broadcasting stations while that company was in bankruptcy.[13]

Gray Television

In 2006, the company spun off its five daily newspapers and wireless messaging business into the newly formed Triple Crown Media,[4][14] later (in 2010) is renamed Southern Community Newspapers.[15] A new strategy of purchasing stations in college towns or capitals was put into place.[13]

The company had overpaid for a pair of stations and was over leveraged like many other station groups entering the Great Recession. Advertising revenues dropped. The twin problems caused its shares to trade at its lowest at 16 cents in 2008, thus the NYSE indicated they might delist the company. Loan covenants could have forced the company into default.[13] Robinson stepped down with Howell replacing him in 2008.[13]

On July 30, 2009, Gray was awarded a contract to manage seven Young Broadcasting-owned stations. Through December 31, 2012, Gray would earn $2.2 million and an opportunity to earn additional specified incentive fees if certain performance targets were exceeded.[16][17][18]

Prather left the company in 2013 and Howell took over the president title.[13] On November 4, 2013, Gray Television announced that it would purchase Yellowstone Holdings for $23 million, adding local stations: KGNS-TV, KGWN, KCWY, and KCHY-LP.[19] Three weeks later, on November 20, Gray announced it would purchase Hoak Media and Parker Broadcasting for $335 million, and North Dakota's Fox affiliate KNDX/KXND for $7.5 million. As part of the deal, stations KAQY, KHAS-TV, and KXJB, were proposed to be sold to Excalibur Broadcasting and operated by Gray under a "local marketing agreements".[20] On December 19, it was announced that stations KREX-TV and WMBB would be sold to Nexstar Broadcasting Group, while KFQX would be sold to Mission Broadcasting.[21] On March 25, 2014, Prime Cities Broadcasting, owner of KNDX/KXND, requested that the FCC dismiss the sale of KNDX/KXND to Excalibur.[22]

The sale was completed on June 13, 2014. However, some stations were forced to go off the air and their programming was moved to a multicast stream on adjacent channels, due to some stations unable to receive regulatory approval, after the FCC's ruling on joint sales agreements. Those silent stations would then be sold off to minority interest, pending FCC approval.[23][24]

On July 24, 2014, SJL Broadcasting announced that it would sell WJRT-TV and WTVG to Gray, for $128 million.[25][26] The sale was completed on September 15.[27]

In July 2015, Gray closed its accounting and human resources offices in Albany (housed in the same building as The Albany Herald), combining them with the corporate offices in Atlanta.[4]

In September 2015, Gray announced that it would acquire the television and radio stations of Schurz Communications for $442.5 million.[28][29] It also purchased KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa from the locally owned Gazette Company, who owned the station from its sign-on in 1953.[30][31]

In January 2016, Gray Television opened a national news bureau in Washington, D.C., led by former APTV journalist Jacqueline Policastro. The bureau was designed to provide enhanced coverage of national political issues for Gray's local stations.[32][33]

On May 13, 2016, Gray announced that it would acquire WDTV and WVFX in Clarksburg, West Virginia from Withers Broadcasting for $26.5 million.[34] On June 3, 2016, it was announced that Gray would acquire two stations that were spun-off from the Nexstar-Media General merger; KWQC-TV in Davenport, Iowa and WBAY-TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin for $270 million.[35][36] On February 16, 2017, Gray announced that it will acquire WABI-TV in Bangor, Maine and WCJB-TV in Gainesville, Florida from Diversified Communications for $85 million.[37] On May 4, 2017, Gray announced its intent to acquire WCAX-TV in Burlington, Vermont from Mount Mansfield Television for $29 million.[38][39]

In April 2017, Gray Television filed a lawsuit against Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett, founders of the Found Footage Festival, for fraud and copyright infringement, after having booked an appearance on the morning show of a Gray station as a fake strongman act, "Chop and Steele", and utilizing the footage during their show. The parties later agreed to a settlement.[40][41]

On May 21, 2018, Gray Television entered into an agreement to acquire KNHL from Legacy Broadcasting for $475,000. Gray intended to turn KNHL into a satellite of its NBC affiliate KSNB-TV.[42]

On June 25, 2018, Gray Television announced its intent to acquire Raycom Media for $3.65 billion, pending regulatory approval. The combined company would be led by Raycom's current president and CEO Pat LaPlatney, with current Gray CEO Hilton Howell acting as executive chairman and co-CEO. The acquisition, which Gray expected to close in late 2018, would give Gray 142 stations in 92 markets, making Gray the third-largest owner of television stations in the United States, with a total market share of 24%.[43][44][45]

Although Gray foresaw that the acquisition would receive regulatory approval quickly, due to limited market overlap between the two companies and its still-relatively low total market reach post-acquisition. Gray would divest nine stations in markets where Gray and Raycom both already owned stations, including WTNZ, WTOL, KXXV, WTXL, WFXG, KWES-TV, WPGX, WSWG, and WDFX-TV.[45] The sale was approved by the FCC on December 20, 2018.[46][47][48] The deal was completed on January 2, 2019.[49][50]

Gray had announced on April 24, 2019 a joint venture unnamed country music service with Grand Old Opry Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of Ryman Hospitality Properties, a former owner of The Nashville Network. The services would consist of a broadcast diginet and an OTT streaming platform. The joint venture would be based in Nashville under General Manager Drew Riefenberger. Gray would contribute distribution and marketing capabilities, multicast knowledge and affiliate all Gray TV stations.[51]

Stations

Stations arranged alphabetically by state and by city of license.

Notes:

  • (**) - Indicates that it was built and signed-on by Gray.
  • (++) - Indicates a station previously owned by Benedek Broadcasting. All stations, except for KAUZ, KGWN/KSTF and KOSA, were acquired by Gray in 2002.
  • (¤¤) - Indicates a station previously owned by Hoak Media. All stations, except for KHAS (now KNHL), were acquired by Gray in 2014.
  • (##) - Indicates a station acquired by Gray from SJL Broadcasting in 2014.
  • (§§) - Indicates a station owned by Schurz Communications, prior to its acquisition by Gray in 2016.
  • () - Indicates a station owned by Diversified Communications, prior to its acquisition by Gray in 2017.
  • () - Indicates a station owned by Raycom Media, prior to its merger by Gray in 2019.
  • (~~) - Indicates a station owned by United Communications, prior to its acquisition by Gray in 2019.

Current owned television stations

Other notes:

Current owned radio stations

FM Station

Former owned television stations

Notes:

  • 1 Owned by Parker Broadcasting, Gray operated KAQY & KXJB under a shared services agreement, with sister stations KNOE & KVLY, respectively.
  • 2 Owned by Excalibur Broadcasting, Gray operated KJCT under a Local marketing agreement, with sister station, KKCO.
  • 3 Owned by Schurz Communications, Gray operated KSPR/KGHZ under a shared services agreement from 2016 until the station's license cancellation in 2017.
  • 4 TV-3 Winchester was Winchester, Virginia's cable-only ABC affiliate. The station was a joint operation of WHSV-TV of Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Shenandoah University, and appeared on cable systems located only in the northern Shenandoah Valley counties. The channel was also simulcasted on WHSV-DT3.

Other assets

Management of Young Broadcasting stations

On July 22, 2009, a New York bankruptcy judge approved a plan transferring ownership of Young Broadcasting and its stations to the company's secured lenders. The plan included Gray Television coming in as an outside party and advise on operations of Young-owned stations in seven markets through December 2012. The new Young Broadcasting still has final word on the stations' operations, including programming and personnel.[16][18]

The former Young-owned stations managed by Gray Television include:

Young Broadcasting would retain ownership of all of its stations, including three stations that Gray would not operate: KRON-TV in San Francisco, California, WATE-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee, and WLNS-TV in Lansing, Michigan, the latter two due to Gray already owning stations in those markets. Gray considered the possibility of purchasing the Young stations if they go on the market.[53]

The agreement ended without any further extensions on December 31, 2012, and Young agreed to a merger with Media General in mid-2013. Gray would eventually buy KWQC and WBAY when Nexstar Broadcasting Group acquired Media General in 2017.[35][36]

Washington News Bureau

By January 20, 2016, Gray had set up their Washington News Bureau by Jacqueline Policastro to enable stations to get interviews with U.S. Senators and Representatives serving their communities. The bureau cooperates with Lilly News DC Bureau, previously started by Policastro, and is located at the NBC News Capitol Hill Bureau, 400 N. Capitol Street.[33]On February 28, 2019, Gray announced that award-winning journalist Greta Van Susteren has joined the company as its Chief National Political Analyst.[54]

References

  1. ^ "GRAY TELEVISION, Atlanta". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ "Gray Television SEC Filing". Gray Television.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Gray Communications Systems, Inc. History". International Directory of Company Histories. St. James Press. 1999. Archived from the original on September 23, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Gray Television consolidating offices, leaving Albany". The Albany Herald. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "SEC Filing 10-K (1999)". Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ a b c "SEC Filing 10-K (2002)". Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "SEC Filing 10-K (2005)". Retrieved 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e "SEC Filing 10-K (2010)". Retrieved 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d e "SEC Filing 10-K (2015)". Retrieved 2018.
  10. ^ a b "SEC Filing 10-K (2017)". Retrieved 2018.
  11. ^ "SEC Filing 10-K (2018)". Retrieved 2019.
  12. ^ "Company Briefs". New York Times. August 4, 1998. Archived from the original on March 5, 2017. Retrieved 2016.
  13. ^ a b c d e Colman, Price (January 19, 2016). "Gray: Strong Stations, Smart Operations". Executive Outlook. TVNewsCheck. pp. 1-2. Archived from the original on May 13, 2018. Retrieved 2016.
  14. ^ "Atlanta-based TV-station operator to spin off newsletter, wireless units". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 4 August 2005. Archived from the original on 10 June 2014. Retrieved 2013 – via HighBeam Research.
  15. ^ "Daily Post's parent company changes name". Gwinnett Daily Post. March 5, 2010. Retrieved 2013.
  16. ^ a b "Banks' Bid on Young Stations Clears Hurdle" Archived 2010-06-23 at the Wayback Machine, from broadcastingcable.com, 7/22/2009
  17. ^ "Gray to manage most Young stations" Archived 2009-07-30 at the Wayback Machine, from rbr.com, 7/22/2009
  18. ^ a b Who's Really Running Young Broadcasting?" from tvnewscheck.com, 2/1/2011
  19. ^ "Gray Buying Yellowstone Stations". TVNewsCheck. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  20. ^ "Gray Buying Hoak, Prime Stations For $342.5M". TVNewsCheck. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  21. ^ Gray Sell Grand Junction Duop To Nexstar Archived 2013-12-19 at the Wayback Machine, "TVNewsCheck", 19 December 2013
  22. ^ Paxson, Ann Thomas (March 25, 2014). "Re: Prime Cities Broadcasting, Inc. Request for Dismissal of Group Application for Assignment of Broadcast Station License(s)..." (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Archived from the original on March 27, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  23. ^ Gray closes Hoak deal; completes refinancing. Archived 2014-07-29 at the Wayback Machine, rbr.com, Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  24. ^ Press Release Archived 2014-07-14 at the Wayback Machine from Gray Television, 13 June 2014
  25. ^ "Gray Buys Stations in Flint, Toledo For $128M". TVNewsCheck. 24 July 2014. Archived from the original on 30 July 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  26. ^ Baird, Kirk (29 August 2014). "TV in the news Channels 24, 13 expanding newscasts; CW13 to replace WT05". The Toledo Blade. Archived from the original on 5 September 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  27. ^ Gray Closes on Flint, Toledo Station Buys Archived 2014-09-16 at the Wayback Machine, TVNewsCheck, Retrieved 15 September 2014
  28. ^ "Schurz Communications to sell WSBT and other TV, radio stations". South Bend Tribune. September 14, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  29. ^ Kuperberg, Jonathan (September 14, 2015). "Gray Acquiring TV, Radio Stations from Schurz for $442.5 Million". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on September 17, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  30. ^ "Press Releases". Gray Television. Archived from the original on 2016-05-28.
  31. ^ "KCRG-TV9 sold to Gray Television", KCRG.com, Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Gazette Communications, September 1, 2015, archived from the original on September 3, 2015, retrieved 2015
  32. ^ "Gray TV Launches DC News Bureau". Adweek. Retrieved .
  33. ^ a b McAdams, Deborah D. (February 2, 2015). "Gray Opens Washington, D.C. News Bureau". TV Technology. NewBay Media. Archived from the original on September 23, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  34. ^ "Gray Buying WDTV-WVFX Clarksburg, WV". TVNewsCheck. May 13, 2016. Archived from the original on May 13, 2018. Retrieved 2016.
  35. ^ a b "Gray Buying Two Nexstar Spinoffs For $270M". TVNewsCheck. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 2016.
  36. ^ a b Marszalek, Diana (2016-06-03). "Gray Buys Nexstar Stations in Green Bay, Davenport". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media, LLC. Archived from the original on 2016-06-05. Retrieved .
  37. ^ Diana Marszalek, Gray Buys Diversified's Stations in Bangor, Gainesville[permanent dead link]Broadcasting & Cable, February 16, 2017
  38. ^ "Gray Buying CBS Affil WCAX Burlington, Vt". TVNewsCheck. Archived from the original on 3 August 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  39. ^ "WCAX sold to Gray Television". WCAX.com. Archived from the original on May 8, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  40. ^ Saul, Emily (2017-04-13). "Pranksters sued by TV company over morning show antics". Archived from the original on 10 April 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  41. ^ "Meet the comedy duo who got sued for pranking the news". VICE News. Retrieved .
  42. ^ Jacobson, Adam (2018-09-14). "Gray's Legacy Grows In Nebraska". Radio & Television Business Report. Retrieved .
  43. ^ Hufford, Austen (2018-06-25). "Gray TV to Buy Raycom in $3.65 Billion Deal". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved .
  44. ^ Hayes, Dade (2018-06-25). "Gray Acquiring Raycom For $3.65B, Forming No. 3 Local TV Group". Deadline. Retrieved .
  45. ^ a b "Gray To Buy Raycom For $3.6 Billion". TVNewsCheck.com. Retrieved .
  46. ^ "Memorandum Opinion and Order", Media Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, 20 December 2018, Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  47. ^ "FCC OK with Gray/Raycom Merger", Broadcasting & Cable, 20 December 2018, Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  48. ^ "FCC Approves Gray-Raycom Merger", TVNewsCheck, 20 December 2018, Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  49. ^ "Gray Receives Regulatory Approvals for Raycom Media and Divestiture Transactions", Gray Television, 20 December 2018, Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  50. ^ "Gray Completes Acquisitions for Raycom Media and Related Transactions", Gray Television, 2 January 2019, Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  51. ^ Jessell, Harry A. (April 24, 2019). "Gray Teams With Grand Ole Opry On TV Network". TV News Check. Archived from the original on April 27, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  52. ^ "Opry Entertainment Group, Gray TV announce Circle, a new country lifestyle network" (Press release). WBAY-TV, Gray Television. 17 October 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  53. ^ "Gray Sees Young Stations As Possible Buy", from tvnewscheck.com, 3/1/2011
  54. ^ http://www.nbc12.com/2019/02/28/greta-van-susteren-joins-gray-television-chief-political-analyst/

External links


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