Freedom Television going on the market


Freedom Communications is looking to focus on its newspaper business, and as such is putting out feelers for the sale of its television stations. It owns and operates eight stations in seven markets. The company emerged from Chapter 11 in late April 2010. Meanwhile, the company recently hired a new president of its television division.

According to reports, the company is looking for between $400M and $500M for the stations, whether they are sold one by one or as a group. The group includes major network affiliates in each of its markets, along with a second station carrying CW in Albany-Schenectady-Troy. Additionally, three of its stations provide CW on digital side channels.

For those of you with that hard-to-shop-for person who has just about everything, but might like to see a letter of intent for acquisition of a network-affiliated full power television station under the tree, here is what Freedom has to offer:

* West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce FL (DMA 38): WPEC, CBS, Channel 12

* Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek MI (DMA 39): WWMT, CBS, 3 (+ CW)

* Albany-Schenectady-Troy NY (DMA 56): WRGB, CBS, Channel 6

* Albany-Schenectady-Troy NY (DMA 56): WCWN, CW, Channel 45

* Chattanooga TN (DMA 86): WTVC, ABC, Channel 9

* Lansing MI (DMA 112): WLAJ, ABC, Channel 53

* Medford-Klamath Falls OR (DMA 140): KTVL, CBS, Channel 10 (+ CW)

* Beaumont-Port Arthur TX (DMA 141): KFDM, CBS, Channel 6 (+ CW)

Coming in to lead the group is Thomas R. Herwitz, former president of station operations for Fox. He is replacing Doreen Wade, who is exiting to pursue other interests.

“Tom Herwitz brings a wealth of television experience and an abundance of creativity and imagination to this position, and Freedom is very lucky to get him,” said Freedom CEO Mitch Stern. “I know from working with Tom at Fox Television the kind of energy and commitment he’ll bring to the job of guiding our broadcast properties forward through the new media landscape.”

According to an Associated Press report, the company’s Chapter 11 deal allowed it to reduce its debt load from $770M to $325M. It is also contemplating the sale of some of its newspaper properties.

Pictured: Tom Herwitz