The sale of WTHI-TV to LIN TV in November was part of a nine-station deal, according to a news release from Emmis Communications Corp.
In August, Emmis, owner of WIBC, an Indianapolis AM radio station, announced it was selling WTHI-TV and eight other stations in three transactions. The sale represented more than half of Emmis' 16 TV stations.
The television station sales were made to raise money to reduce the company's debt, said Emmis Chairman and Chief Executive Office Jeff Smulyan.
"We announced in early May that we were exploring strategic alternatives for our television group, so that we could focus on lowering debt and positioning ourselves for growth," Smulyan said. "We wanted to do what was right to get the best price for our shareholders, while providing our employees -- who have consistently been among the best operators in the industry - with the best possible new owners. In making today's announcement, we made substantial progress toward these goals. We continue to move forward on discussions relating to the remaining seven stations and will make additional announcements as appropriate."
LIN TV agreed to buy WALA-TV, WBPG-TV, WTHI-TV, WLUK-TV and KRQE-TV plus regional satellite stations for $260 million.
Emmis also signed agreements to sell WFTX-TV, KMTV-TV, KGUN-TV to Journal Communications for $235 million and to sell WSAZ-TV to Gray Television for $186 million.
The stations represented 53 percent of TV station operating income in fiscal year ending February 28, 2005, and 47 percent of the fiscal year ending February 29, 2004.
Under its new ownership, WTHI-TV joins sister stations WISH-TV, Indianapolis; WLFI-TV; Lafayette; and WANE-TV, Ft. Wayne; as well as other stations in 11 cities including San Juan, Pureto Rico, according to the company's Web site, www.lintv.com.
It remains to be seen if the new owners will make changes in WTHI-TV's operation.
Emmis purchased four Fox network affiliates, WLUK-TV, Green Bay, Wis.; KHON-TV, Honolulu, Hawaii; WVUE-TV, New Orleans; and WALA-TV, Mobile, Ala.,in July 1998 from SF Broadcasting. WTHI-TV and WFTX-TV were purchased the same year from Wabash Valley Broadcasting. In October, 1999, Emmis purchased Orlando's WKCF from Press Communications. In October, 2000, Emmis purchased eight network-affiliated stations, KOIN-TV, Portland, Ore.; KRQE-TV, Albuquerque, N.M.; WSAZ-TV, Huntington, W.Va.; KSNW-TV, Wichita, Kan.; KGMB-TV, Honolulu, Hawaii; KGUN-TV, Tucson, Ariz.; KMTV-TV, Omaha, Neb.; and KSNT-TV, Topeka, Kan., from Lee Enterprises. In March, 2003, Emmis purchased Mobile/Pensacola's WBPG-TV from Pegasus Communications.
Emmis is an Indianapolis-based media firm with radio broadcasting, television broadcasting and magazine publishing operations. Emmis owns 23 FM and 2 AM domestic radio stations serving the nation's largest markets of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago as well as Phoenix, St. Louis, Austin, Indianapolis and Terre Haute. Emmis also owns a radio network, international radio stations, regional and specialty magazines and ancillary businesses in broadcast sales and book publishing.