A 9 1/2-month saga for a Kentucky FOX TV affiliate has formally ended. It is now officially owned by Nexstar Media Group. As such, this TV station has a new VP and General Manager.
As the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown, a new era has come to WDKY-56, the FOX affiliate serving Lexington-Fayette, Ky.
Nexstar has closed on its purchase of the station, which became known July 28.
Nexstar, the nation’s largest broadcast TV station owner, paid $18 million, with Tribune Media listed as the seller.
If only it was that simple of a deal.
In January, a settlement put to rest a vociferous squabble between failed merger partners Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media, which saw competing breach of contract claims.
The end of the battle in Delaware Chancery Court put the wheels in motion on delivery of cash and a Lexington, Ky., TV station to Tribune’s new owner, as part of a legal settlement between the two companies that also saw the sale of KGBT-4 in McAllen-Brownsville by Sinclair.
As such, Sinclair sold the stations to Tribune; they then became meshed into the company’s assets going to Nexstar Media Group. But, the asset purchase agreement for WDKY was not filed with the Commission until nearly six months later.
WDKY becomes Nexstar’s first property in the Bluegrass State; the station’s online portal as of 10:30am Eastern Friday still reflected Sinclair ownership.
The ownership change for WDKY led Jennifer Rieffer to stay with Sinclair, and during the summer transferred to WSMH-66, the FOX station Sinclair owns in Flint, Mich. Her duties include overseeing Sinclair’s shared services agreements with WEYI-25 and WBSF, branded as “The CW46.”
It is now known that Monte Costes will succeed Rieffer as VP/GM of WDKY. He joins Nexstar from crosstown NBC rival WLEX-18, owned by The E.W. Scripps Co.
Before that, Costes enjoyed a lengthy tenure holding local and national sales roles at WTTV-4 and WXIN-59 — stations that today are part of the Nexstar family in Indianapolis.
“Monte is the perfect choice to lead our newly acquired broadcasting and digital operations in Lexington,” said Mike Vaughn, a Sr. VP and Regional Manager for Nexstar Broadcasting. “His nearly 30 years of experience as a sales leader, coupled with his lengthy track-
record of leadership successes as a result of his ability to build highly-performing sales teams, identify new business opportunities, and develop non-traditional revenue streams, have all equipped him well to lead WDKY-TV and its related mobile and social media applications.”
Vaughn pointed to Costes’ “deep familiarity with the Lexington area, well-established relationships with multiple local and national adverting clients and numerous local civic partners” as an asset. “His experience and understanding of the importance in developing strong connections between viewers, advertisers and the community at large to deliver market-leading growth in ratings, revenue and profits, are a perfect fit to lead our newest
Costes added, “I am extremely grateful to Nexstar for giving me the opportunity to lead its newest broadcast and digital operations serving Lexington, and I am very pleased to be living and working in an area I already call home. WDKY-TV has a legacy of success and service to the community, and I look forward to working alongside the staff to continue generating impressive results for our clients and enhancing the overall experience for our viewers and digital users.”
Interestingly, Costes’ career in TV is tied to a part-time job as a camera operator at a local TV while enrolled at the School of Medicine and Nursing at the University of South Alabama.