Special to the NNPA from the Los Angeles Wave
Federal regulators have approved the sale of a FOX TV affiliate in Quad Cities, Iowa to longtime media executive Pluria Marshall, Jr., president and CEO of Houston-based Marshall Broadcasting Group (MBG), officials have announced.
Marshall, also publisher of Wave Publications Group in Los Angeles, will acquire Fox affiliate KLJB in Quad Cities/Davenport, Iowa, officials said. Two other proposed acquisitions in Shreveport, La., and Odessa-Midland, Texas remaining pending, officials said.
The license transfer from Nexstar Broadcasting to minority-owned Marshall Broadcasting is an important step in fulfilling Nexstar’s commitment to incubate broadcast station ownership by minority-owned companies, which is also a key FCC initiative, officials said.
“The MBG transaction serves as a model to increase media ownership diversity while extending Nexstar’s long-term, well-documented initiatives to serve the public interests and needs of local viewers, hometown businesses, and organizations in the markets where we operate,” said Perry A. Sook, chairman, president and Chief Executive Officer of Nexstar Broadcasting Group.
“As a result of this approval, Nexstar will lead the industry in incubating a new, minority-controlled entrant to broadcasting and bringing additional news, information and specialized programming to markets where MBG will operate.
Sook said Marshall’s acquisition of the station complements Nexstar’s strategic focus on localism, including expanded local news, sports and other programming.
“As an established and longtime media executive with extensive broadcast operating experience, Pluria Marshall has the background and skills necessary to serve local interests while maintaining independent operations and programming decisions for the stations,” Sook said.
Marshall, president and CEO of MBG, said he is “delighted to secure the approval from the FCC and the support of Nexstar” as the two companies move forward in diversifying the ownership of media assets among minority operators.
“This is a great day for Americans, minorities, MBG and Nexstar as equality of media asset ownership is as important as equality is in all facets of the country,” Marshall said. “We applaud the FCC for its forward-thinking approach to providing appropriate guidelines and structure that enable new entrants to own, operate and program television stations.”
Marshall said he looks forward to playing an active role in the new communities his station serves while “developing minority-oriented public affairs programming that will air on MBG stations and be syndicated to other television stations nationwide.”
Earlier this year Nexstar and MBG entered into definitive agreements whereby MBG would, subject to FCC approvals, purchase three FOX affiliates, including KLJB, for $58.5 million. The other stations are KMSS in Shreveport, La. and KPEJ Odessa-Midland, Texas. The Louisiana and Texas acquisitions are pending.
The three acquisitions have been endorsed by several media monitors and by members of the Congressional Black Caucus because they would significantly boost the number of black-owned TV stations in America, provide broader career options for blacks in television and create an opportunity for more diverse and increased local programming in broadcasting.
Before today’s approval, only three of the nation’s 1,300-plus full-power commercial stations were Black-owned.