Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Speculation Aside, WJXT Plans to Stay with CBS

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Speculation Aside, WJXT Plans to Stay with CBS

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Basch, Times-Union business writer

Jacksonville television station WJXT TV-4 has been broadcasting CBS shows since before I Love Lucy hit the airwaves. And while WJXT's affiliation agreement with CBS will expire next summer, leading to industry speculation that the station and the network might split up, station officials say they expect to continue showing CBS programs.

"It is our preference to remain a CBS affiliate, and that's what we're trying to accomplish," said Alan Frank, president of Post-Newsweek Station Inc., which operates WJXT and five other stations around the country owned by The Washington Post Co.

Frank said there are currently no negotiations going on between WJXT and CBS.

WJXT Vice President and General Manager Sherry Burns said the two sides have an understanding that they will begin negotiations before spring but not until after the new year.

A CBS spokesman said the network does not comment on affiliation agreements.

WJXT is Jacksonville's oldest television station and has been a CBS affiliate since it went on the air in 1949. So industry observers think it's unlikely the marriage would ever break up.

"I would be very surprised if it ever came to be," said Josh McGraw, president of Clear Channel-Jacksonville, which owns Fox affiliate WAWS TV-30 and UPN affiliate WTEV TV-47. "But you never know."

There are several factors contributing to the rumors that WJXT would drop CBS and become an independent station.

The affiliation agreement between WJXT and CBS actually did expire last July and was renewed for only one year, which fueled speculation of tension between the network and the station. The other five stations owned by the Washington Post have affiliation agreements running through at least 2005.

"They typically do either a six-year or eight-year long-term renewal," said Ken Tonning, president and general manager of two Jacksonville stations owned by Gannett Co. …

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