Gillett Broadcasting Inc. of California is known for its network
stations, so they are "babes in the woods" when it comes to
operating an independent, said George Gillett Jr., president.
Gillett is purchasing KOKH-TV, the pioneer independent
television station in Oklahoma City, from John Blair & Co. The
station is part of a package of three being acquired for $86 million
KOKH will be Gillett's second independent station. The company
also owns 11 other network affiliate stations and an independent in
Richmond, Va., that was purchased within the last two months.
The philosophy of KOKH - since it was purchased from the
Oklahoma City Public Schools by John Blair in 1979 - has remained
family oriented, with programming chosen by the viewers.
The station has built a reputation for public service
exemplified by its news department, atypical of an independent, and
by special programs dealing with community oriented subjects. The
station was a host to political debates during the past political
campaigns and airs a program hosted by Oklahoma City Mayor Andrew
Gillett said his company believes in market research and
reflecting the taste and preference of the communities served.
"We don't try to tell them what we think," he said, "or what
they ought to be watching.
"Without having done the research yet, it is difficult to
anticipate anything. We have confidence in the management and
personnel. They have excellent programming."
Gillett said he did not expect the company will make many
changes in the first three to six months after the takeover.
"The changes will come from within the station," he said. "Our
style one in which we like to work with people who are there and the
Blair group has excellent people."
The sale still awaits the approval of the FCC. James L.
Harmeyer, general manager of the station, said he doesn't foresee
any problems with approval of the sale.
"Gillett is very good operator," he said.
Over the past year, KOKH management has worked harder to
purchase first run products and television premieres, Harmeyer said.
The station is "actively pursuing good family programming," he
added, enhancing its lineup with the addition of the Wonderful World
of Disney, among other shows.
Harmeyer said the station has always tried innovative
programming, such as Live Aid, and tested new products, rather than
picking up whatever syndicated properties are available. …