Cox Media Set to Take over 2 TV Stations; Company Purchasing WAWS, WTEV in Deal with Newport Television LLC

Article excerpt

Byline: Roger Bull

Cox Media Group, owner of five radio stations in Jacksonville, will soon take over two television stations, owning one and operating another.

Newport Television LLC announced late Thursday that it had signed agreements to sell 22 stations throughout the country to three separate buyers. The total cost was placed at approximately $1 billion.

Cox is buying Fox affiliate WAWS TV-30 and CBS affiliate WTEV TV-47 in Jacksonville. It currently owns five radio stations in the city: WAPE (95.1 FM), WFYV (104.5 FM), WJGL (96.9 FM), WXXJ (102.9 FM) and WOKV (690 AM/ 106.5 FM).

Although Cox is listed as the buyer of both stations, company spokesman Andy McDill said WAWS will be owned by an independent company, but its operations will be combined with Cox. The FCC allows a company to own two stations in the same market as long as both are not in the top four in ratings, and both of those stations are in the top four in Jacksonville.

Soon after Newport bought both stations in 2008, it transferred ownership of WTEV to High Plains Broadcasting, but continued to operate both.

McDill said the deal is not expected to be finalized until late in the year. Even then, he said, no major changes were expected in the operations. But he said that having both radio and TV here would allow for more cross-media collaboration in terms of breaking news and optimizing the websites. …