The courtship of NBC by the Hearld-Traveler

Scott Fybush
Sun Jun 21 19:58:34 EDT 2009

Garrett Wollman wrote:


> This then left CBS with a problem: they had to find a buyer for
> WCAU-TV so they could affiliate with KYW-TV.  Eventually they did a
> deal -- which I think was reported at the time as the first direct
> sale of a TV station between two of the Big Three networks -- to sell
> WCAU and Miami's WCIX to NBC in exchange for cash, KCNC in Denver,
> KUTV in Salt Lake City, and WTVJ in Miami.  Denver's old CBS
> affiliate, KMGH, took the ABC affiliation (previously on KUSA) as a
> result of another chainwide deal between ABC and McGraw-Hill, with NBC
> ending up on Gannett's KUSA.  The McGraw-Hill deal also moved KERO in
> Bakersfield from CBS to ABC, moving CBS to Fisher's KBAK, the former
> ABC affiliate.

(snippity snip)

> I hope that makes it all clear.


The one piece missing here - and it's an important one - is what the 
plan was for Denver, Salt Lake and Miami. When the Westinghouse/CBS deal 
was announced, the stated intention was to create a new joint venture 
between the two companies that would hold the licenses for KCNC, KUTV 
and the Miami station [1] and potentially make some new acquisitions 
down the road.

As it turned out, that joint venture never came into play, since by the 
time the deals with NBC were consummated, Westinghouse had bought CBS 

It was a most interesting time to be working for one of the companies 
involved. I vividly remember the all-staff meeting in the conference 
room upstairs when the deal was announced to us. A lot of heads were 
spinning by the time it was over.


[1] - The Miami situation was even more convoluted. NBC had purchased 
WTVJ channel 4 from Wometco a couple of years earlier, and had 
eventually flipped it from CBS to NBC after waiting out the contract 
that the incumbent NBC affiliate, Ed Ansin's WSVN, wouldn't allow to be 
bought out. So CBS, needing a Miami affiliate and unable to reach terms 
with Ansin for WSVN, bought former indie WCIX channel 6, which suffered 
from a lousy signal in much of the market because of short-spacing to 
Orlando's channel 6 that forced the WCIX transmitter to be located far 
south of Miami.

When CBS was ready to sell WCAU to NBC, it saw a chance to rectify its 
signal issue: it traded licenses with NBC, but each company kept its 
intellectual property. In effect, WTVJ/NBC moved from channel 4 to 
channel 6, while CBS's WCIX channel 6 became WFOR-TV channel 4. (The FCC 
license records reflect a different legal situation: the facility that 
was CBS's WCIX 6 became NBC's WTVJ 6, while the facility that was NBC's 
WTVJ 4 became CBS's WFOR-TV 4.)

The signal disparity between channels 6 and 4 has finally been rectified 
with the move to DTV, since WTVJ-DT operates from the same tower farm 
north of Miami as the market's other stations.

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