Second bidder for Providence ABC affiliate emerges


Citadel Communications has gotten the ball rolling in the auction of Global Broadcasting of Southern New England’s ABC WLNE-TV in the Providence RI-New Bedford MA DMA. Now a second bidder has entered the competition in the process being handled by brokerage firm CobbCorp.

According to the Providence Journal, an investment group headed by former Providence Mayor Joseph R. Paolino is prepared to make a bid.

Paoline held down the mayor’s office for the Democratic Party while Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were in the White House, serving from 1984 to 1991.

According to the Journal, Citadel started the bidding as stalking horse with a commitment to spend $4M to acquire WLNE. If Citadel fails to prevail at auction, it will receive $150K for its role in getting the process started.

Global is reported to have paid $14M for the station. The procedure now in progress is the Rhode Island equivalent of a bankruptcy.

The Citadel involved in the WLNE action has no relation to the large radio group Citadel Broadcasting. Citadel Communications is strictly a television owner with four stations in relatively small Midwestern markets. It has three ABC affiliates in its portfolio, including WOI Des Moines IA, KLKN Lincoln NE and KCAU Sioux City IA; along with CBS affiliate WHBF in Quad Cities IA-IL.

Interested parties have until March 18 to submit competing bids. There will be a hearing in the Superior Court in Providence on March 22 during which the prevailing bidder will be selected and approved by the Court. CobbCorp is functioning as the exclusive advisor (212) 812-5020.