ABC WLNE-TV Providence RI has fallen on hard times, hard enough that it is having difficulty keeping up with its secured debt obligations. It has been turned over to a receiver who will keep the station running, get it on an even keel and then look for a new owner.
Locally-owned Global Broadcasting of Southern New England LLC is the current owner. It acquired the station from Freedom Broadcasting at just about the worst possible point in time – 2007. The price was $14M, according to local reports. It has since struggled with poor ratings and declining revenues.
Local attorney Matthew McGowan is the receiver. According to reports, McGowan will be conducting business as usual, and with a little help from an improving economy, hopes to nurse the station into enough health to be able to put it on the market.
In the state of Rhode Island, a receivership filing is said to be equivalant to a bankruptcy filing in most other jurisdictions.
RBR-TVBR observation: The FCC and other observers love to see local owners at the helm of an important broadcast facility, and any broadcast television station that has a major network affiliation certainly qualifies for that distinction. But if you bought at the prices in vogue just before the economy tanked, you bought into a migraine-level headache. Here’s hoping WLNE can emerge from this situation with as little pain as possible.