Byron Allen’s Group Makes ‘Island News’ With KITV Buy


HAIKU, HAWAII — Across the Hawaiian Islands, “Island News” has come courtesy of an ABC affiliate owned and operated by two brothers from Erie, Pa.: Brian and Kevin Lilly.

That ownership will soon come to an end, thanks to one of the most aggressive buyers in broadcast television today.

Byron Allen’s Allen Media Broadcasting has signed a purchase agreement enabling it to acquire KITV-4 in Honolulu from SJL Broadcasting.

According to a release distributed Monday evening, Hawaiian time, the deal is valued at $30 million.

The transaction includes full-time satellite stations KHVO-12 in Hilo, and KMAU-12 in the Maui city of Wailuku.

In addition to the ABC affiliation, KITV offers four digital multicast networks: MeTVHawaii TVStart TV, and Heroes & Icons.

For “Island News,” there’s access to a Washington, D.C.-based news bureau and correspondent. It is unclear if this will continue following the station’s sale.

Allen’s purchase of KITV increases the number of Big-Four network affiliate broadcast television stations owned and/or operated by his Allen Media Broadcasting to 16 stations across 12 U.S. broadcast television markets.

In February 2020, Allen closed the deal to acquire 11 broadcast television stations from USA Television Holdings and USA Television MidAmerica Holdings for $305 million. In August 2019, Allen partnered with the Sinclair Broadcast Group to acquire 21 Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) from Walt Disney/FOX for $10.6 billion.

Allen’s purchase of broadcast television assets began in July 2019 with his acquisition of Bayou City Broadcasting, which included four television stations in Evansville, Indiana and Lafayette, La.,for $165 million.

In March 2018, Allen first attracted attention by acquiring The Weather Channel, after years of becoming a highly visual presence at NATPE Miami conferences.

He’s far from done in making deals.

“Over the past year we’ve invested over $500 million to acquire best-in-class, top-tier, broadcast network affiliates,” said Allen. “We plan to invest approximately ten billion dollars to acquire more ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX television stations over the next two years with the goal of being the largest broadcast television group in America.”

In a short prepared statement, SJL Broadcasting CEO Brian Lilly said his Lilly Broadcasting-affiliated operation “is proud of the commitment of our KITV family to serve the Hawaiian community. Allen Media Group recognizes the investment in news and will build on our success.”

A Form 314 filing with the FCC is expected to be posted later this week.

Reporting by Ethan Hunt, on Maui; editing by Adam Jacobson in Boca Raton, Fla.