ION Closes On Maine Station, Changes Call Sign

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On Dec. 12, RBR+TVBR’s TRANSACTIONS TODAY reported on the sale of a full-power UHF facility licensed to Lewiston, Maine, to ION Media Networks. That deal has now closed, and this has resulted in a programming shift and the arrival of a new set of call letters.


Also today: A Utah deal involving the spin of two FM translators is announced.

In a deal consummated on Dec. 4, Ironwood Communications Portland LLC is selling WPME-35 to ION Media Networks for $900,000.

The deal’s terms call for Ironwood to retain the WPME call sign; programming contracts pertaining to MyNetwork TV will also be retained by Ironwood, setting the stage for a shift of the network to another operation in Maine that has just taken place.

With today’s closing (4/2) of ION’s purchase of WPME-35, it has changed its call letters to WIPL-TV and is now affiliated with ION Television.

WPME is now using WPXT-51’s DT 3 to continue serving the southern Maine and southeastern New Hampshire viewing areas, a slight shift from original plans outlined by Ironwood owner/GM Dave Joseph in December 2017.

With the acquisition of what is now WIPL, ION now has 65 full-power stations across 59 markets in its stable.

“We remain on course to expand our nationwide U.S. TV broadcast distribution footprint,” said ION Media Chairman/CEO Brandon Burgess. “We see dual benefits in our broadcast reach focus: Growing demand for ION Television’s programming lineup, plus having the preeminent UHF spectrum footprint in an increasingly wireless world.”

The acquisition also fortifies ION Media’s position as the largest U.S. holder of full power broadcast TV spectrum, covering 1.3 billion MHz pops across all key metropolitan areas, in the advent of wireless spectrum innovation and development.

UTAH TRANSLATOR DEAL FINALIZED

Frandsen Media Group of Logan, Utah has acquired FM translators K237GA, licensed to St. George, Utah, and K227CO (CP), licensed to Logan, Utah from Michael Thomson, Trustee of the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Estate in the District of Utah.

The Logan translator is being sold for $35,000, and the St. George translator is being acquired for $55,000.

Frandsen owns stations in St. George, and in the Logan area along the Wasatch Front. It also has stations in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Greg Merrill of the Rocky Mountains office of Media Services Group represented the trustee in this transaction.