Close encounters in Savannah


Two stations and four companies were involved in this one, as two participants in a Savannah JSA sold it to two buyers who intend to continue the arrangement. ABC 22 WJCL-TV went from Piedmont Television to New Vision Television, and Fox 28 WTGS-TV went from Bluenose Broadcasting to Parkin Broadcasting. Both deals were valued at 17.5M apiece. New Vision will be in the driver’s seat, with an option to buy at the current price plus an additional 500K per year to a ceiling of 19.5M, upon which time the price will be fair market value. Noting that it’s the second time around for NewVision, President/COO John Heinen said, "Savannah is a dynamic business environment, and we are excited to once again be working with the advertisers and community leaders in a great coastal town."

TVBR/RBR observation: We’ll repeat what we said about this deal back in May when it was announced. Even if Michael Powell’s 6/2/03 ownership ruling went through, there would have been a ban in place on TV duopolies among a market’s top four stations. Unless you happen to be in a market where they really love CW, MyNetworkTV or Ion, that almost always means no pairings involving ABC, CBS, Fox or NBC. In other words, we hope nobody is holding their breath in anticipation of this option going through.