A media company founded by an Indianapolis native plans to purchase WISH-TV Channel 8 and sister station WNDY-TV Channel 23 for $42.5 million in cash.
The pending acquisition was announced Monday morning by DuJuan McCoy, president and CEO of Circle City Broadcasting LLC, and Texas-based Nexstar Media Group Inc., which owns the two stations.
“Words cannot express how overjoyed I am to be able to come full circle and own WISH and WNDY in my hometown of Indianapolis,” McCoy said in a media release. “I am looking forward to working with the great staffs of WISH and WNDY and expanding on their commitment of providing more local news and local programming to our community.”
McCoy also is the owner and CEO of Bayou City Broadcasting LLC, one of the leading black-owned broadcast television station affiliate groups in the United States. It includes stations in Louisiana and WEVV-TV and WEEV-TV in Evansville. Circle City Broadcasting is a newly formed entity.
The sale of the two Indianapolis stations is a vital step in Nexstar’s plan to purchase broadcast giant Tribune Media for $4.1 billion. Tribune owns WXIN-TV Channel 59 and WTTV-TV Channel 4, which could set up federal regulatory obstacles for the purchase with one entity owning several major stations in a city.
As IBJ reported on Feb. 4, Nexstar told the FCC that if the Tribune acquisition is approved, it planned to keep WXIN and WTTV. That set the stage for the sale of WISH and WNDY.
Nexstar officials said the firm has worked with McCoy before on two other deals.
"Mr. McCoy is a seasoned broadcast professional and shares Nexstar’s commitment to supporting greater local programming and public service in the respective markets where we operate," CEO Perry Sook said in a media release.
In his statement, McCoy said he was born and raised in Indianapolis and attended Ben Davis High School and Butler University. He began his 30-year broadcast career in 1989 at WTTV as an advertising account executive.
With Monday's news, Nexstar has announced agreements to sell 21 stations in 16 markets to help ease regulatory concerns, according to the company. Pending necessary approvals, the station divestitures are expected to close at or near the same time as the Nexstar/Tribune deal, which is expected later this year.
WISH is in the midst of beefing up its schedule of newscasts. It announced last week that it plans to add a 4 p.m. newscast this fall that would be an hour-long. The station said adding five extra hours a week will boost local news and programming at the station to 75 hours per week, including 12-1/2 hours per day on weekdays.
The station added a half-hour to its Saturday and Sunday morning newscasts late last year and added an hour to its weekday morning newscasts in 2017.