IBJNews

WRTV up for sale

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

New York-based McGraw-Hill Cos. said Tuesday it plans to sell its nine television stations, including WRTV-TV Channel 6 in Indianapolis.

The company owns four ABC affiliates, located in Indianapolis, Denver, San Diego and Bakersfield, Calif., and five smaller and less-valuable Azteca America-affiliated stations in San Diego, Bakersfield, Denver and Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, Colo. It isn’t clear whether McGraw-Hill intends to sell the stations as a package or piecemeal. It hired Morgan Stanley & Co. to pursue the divestiture of its broadcasting group.

WRTV employees were informed of the planned sale Tuesday morning. WRTV General Manager Larry Blackerby, who took over for the retiring Don Lundy in January, referred questions to McGraw-Hill’s New York office.

“The planned divestiture is part of a continuing portfolio review that McGraw-Hill is undertaking across the enterprise to re-evaluate its strategic core and ensure it is appropriately allocating capital to generate shareholder value,” the company said in a news release.

Even though the value of network affiliates has dropped in recent years and WRTV has lagged its major competitors in local TV news ratings—a major revenue generator for stations—industry sources don’t think McGraw-Hill will have any difficulty selling the local ABC station.

“Indianapolis [has been] a Top 25 market,” said Bruce Bryant, president of Indianapolis-based Promotus Advertising. “There’s still tremendous value in the station.”

Bryant said the sale will have little impact on ad agencies, media buyers and other marketers that may look to Channel 6 for ad placement.

“McGraw-Hill has historically been very conservative with its TV stations,” Bryant said. “They haven’t always invested in their TV product the way other [TV] companies have. If anything, this change could be a blessing for WRTV. It could free up WRTV to be more aggressive in programming, marketing and community outreach. I know the management there wants to do that, but I think McGraw-Hill has held them back.”

Founded in 1888, McGraw-Hill is far better known—and makes far more money—as a book publisher than a TV station operator. With leading brands including Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates, McGraw-Hill has about 21,000 employees in more than 280 offices in 40 countries.

Sales in 2010 were $6.2 billion. The company said broadcasting-division revenue amounted to $100 million, less than 2 percent of the total.

“Part of the problem is McGraw-Hill just doesn’t have the focus on TV that it needs to at this time to make it work,” Bryant said. “It’s the same problem Emmis had. TV is a business that you have to be all in or not at all. Frankly, I’m surprised McGraw-Hill stayed in television as long as they did.”

Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corp. in 2005 started selling off its TV stations to concentrate on its core business, radio. Its 16 stations sold for $40 million to  $217.5 million each. The least expensive station was located in Hawaii; the most expensive was in Orlando, the nation's 20th-largest television market. Indianapolis ranks 27th.

The impact the sale will have on WRTV's operations isn’t clear, said Bill Cahoe, director of Ball State University Teleplex, which operates public station WIPB-TV Channel 49 in Muncie.

“It’s really impossible to say what will happen locally until we know who the buyer is,” Cahoe said. “I’m sure it’s a bit unsettling to the employees there.

"Some jobs could be lost if a conglomerate buys the station and centralizes certain operations. And there’s always the possibility that a new owner will want its own management. You’d think reporters, engineers and many of those in sales would be safe.”

So far this year, WRTV has hired a new general manager, news director and sales manager.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Plus, a little of NBC (Jay and Law and Order-SVU)
    Any chance the station will just close down?
  • What?
    What is this WRTV you speak of? Does anybody even watch and/or care about "local" TV? Certainly the Nielsen ratings reflect that fact and I can't name one on-air personality...oh wait, Clyde and Dianne!!

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I am so impressed that the smoking ban FAILED in Kokomo! I might just move to your Awesome city!

  2. way to much breweries being built in indianapolis. its going to be saturated market, if not already. when is enough, enough??

  3. This house is a reminder of Hamilton County history. Its position near the interstate is significant to remember what Hamilton County was before the SUPERBROKERs, Navients, commercial parks, sprawling vinyl villages, and acres of concrete retail showed up. What's truly Wasteful is not reusing a structure that could still be useful. History isn't confined to parks and books.

  4. To compare Connor Prairie or the Zoo to a random old house is a big ridiculous. If it were any where near the level of significance there wouldn't be a major funding gap. Put a big billboard on I-69 funded by the tourism board for people to come visit this old house, and I doubt there would be any takers, since other than age there is no significance whatsoever. Clearly the tax payers of Fishers don't have a significant interest in this project, so PLEASE DON'T USE OUR VALUABLE MONEY. Government money is finite and needs to be utilized for the most efficient and productive purposes. This is far from that.

  5. I only tried it 2x and didn't think much of it both times. With the new apts plus a couple other of new developments on Guilford, I am surprised it didn't get more business. Plus you have a couple of subdivisions across the street from it. I hope Upland can keep it going. Good beer and food plus a neat environment and outdoor seating.

ADVERTISEMENT