With WLNY buy CBS doubles down in the Big Apple


WCBS-TV is getting a little sister, Riverhead NY UHF WLNY-TV. The indy will give CBS a duopoly in the #1 media market in America, and ample hours of airtime with which to expand local programming, particularly local news programming.

WLNY is an indy that currently has a half-hour daily devoted to local news. CBS’s first remarks involve the plans it has to greatly increase programming offered in that area.

The station has translators in three locations, including across the Long Island Sound in Connecticut; CBS is pledging to honor the station’s historic commitment to residents of Long Island and the “entire Tri-State area.” The station is situated on digital Channel 47, but its MVPD carriage is generally on either Channel 10 or 55.

The seller is WLNY Holdings, Inc. – the call letters stand for “We Love New York.” The price was not immediately disclosed.

CBS Television Stations President Peter Dunn commented, “Our acquisition of WLNY-TV presents a tremendous opportunity for our TV Stations Division. The combined strengths of CBS 2 and WLNY-TV will give us a terrific platform for serving the entire New York area. Our plans for the station include adding people and resources to fuel a significant expansion of local news programming well beyond the nightly half-hour that currently airs. And, of course, in doing so we will continue to honor the station’s already deep commitment to serving the people of Long Island and the entire tri-state area. We also look forward to having a bigger and better news bureau on Long Island that will be a terrific resource for WCBS.”

WLNY President David Feinblatt agreed that the station is a perfect fit for CBS. It comes with a firm grip on MVPD carriage in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut locations.

The deal will add to the group’s 28-station portfolio, which will include duopolies in ten large markets including New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Sacramento and Pittsburgh.

RBR-TVBR observation: One question the deal raises: Will CBS install CW here? We think not. CBS has been careful to protect its relationship with Tribune Broadcasting, which owns the CW affiliates in the three largest markets. Thus, KCAL-TV is operated as an independent in Los Angeles by CBS in a duopoly with KCBS-TV. Tribune’s WPIX-TV New York is well established with the CW branding in New York. Also, CBS owns only 50% of The CW, with the other half held by Time Warner.