DORAL, FLA. — Sixteen days after LBI Media initially planned to flip the switch, the latest change for WGEN-8 in Miami is set to happen on Friday (3/16).
It’s a big return to a big signal for Estrella TV, and comes following the February 14 appointment of Hispanic media veteran Nick Valls as WGEN GM.
In an asset purchase agreement that is expected to be filed with the FCC on Jan. 8, LBI Media agreed to purchase WGEN-8 from Mapale Group, a U.S. subsidiary to Colombian multi-sector investment company Valórem S.A., for approximately $11 million cash. Greg Guy of Patrick Communications served as the broker in this transaction.
The sale price of WGEN-8 reflects a steep dip in the facility’s value since Mapale acquired the station. In December 2005, Mapale acquired WGEN-8 from Sonia Broadcasting Co. for $36 million.
Among Estrella TV’s signature programs are Noches con Platanito, which non-Latinos may mistakenly believe is a Hispanic version of “Krusty The Clown” from FOX’s long-running animated program The Simpsons. Rather, it is a variety show reminiscent of those found on English-language TV in the U.S. through the late 1960s. Other programming includes the competition show Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento.
With the WGEN acquisition, LBI Media will have a full local sales staff in the Miami market, as well as facilities in the Doral, Fla. area to handle local production for clients. On a national spot level, LBI Media’s in-house rep firm, helmed by industry veteran Jason Hall, will represent WGEN.
Estrella TV programming currently airs in the market via low-power WVFW-LD 34; it previously enjoyed carriage on Sunbeam Television’s WSVN-7.2 DT subchannel, with coverage across all MVPDs and DBS providers.
WGEN enjoys distribution on Comcast, Cogeco-owned Atlantic Broadband, AT&T U-Verse and DirectTV and on DISH Network. WVFW does not.
“We are very excited about moving from an affiliate arrangement to a fully owned and operated station with complete cable and satellite distribution throughout the DMA,” LBI Media CEO Lenard Liberman said. “This will allow us to better serve Miami viewers, as well as local businesses.”
WGEN-8 is the former home of the now-defunct MundoMax network, featuring programming from Colombia’s RCN, and the former MundoFOX network. In its earliest incarnation, in the 1990s, WGEN-8 aired Portuguese-language programming in an attempt to serve the market’s growing population of Brazilians.