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Hearst Television, Inc.
Formerly
  • Hearst Broadcasting (1931–1997)
  • Hearst-Argyle Television (1997–2009)
Company typeSubsidiary
Industry
Predecessor
  • Hearst Broadcasting
  • Argyle Television Holdings II
Founded1931; 93 years ago (1931) (as Hearst Broadcasting)
Headquarters,
United States
Area served
United States (Nationwide)
Key people
ProductsBroadcast television
Number of employees
approx. 3000 (full-time)
ParentHearst Communications
DivisionsHearst Media Production Group
Websitehearst.com/broadcasting

Hearst Television, Inc. (formerly Hearst-Argyle Television) is a broadcasting company in the United States owned by Hearst Communications, made up of a group of television and radio stations, and Hearst Media Production Group, a distributor of programming in broadcast syndication.

History

Hearst-Argyle was formed in 1997 with the merger of Hearst Corporation's broadcasting division and stations owned by Argyle Television Holdings II,[1] which is partially related to the company of the same name who (in 1994) sold its stations to New World Communications, stations that eventually became Fox-owned stations (Hearst itself, unusual for any American broadcast group, has never held a Fox affiliation on any of its stations). Hearst's involvement in broadcasting dates to the 1920s.

In 1980, Hearst Broadcasting purchased WDTN in Dayton, Ohio, from Grinnell College for a price estimated to be $45–48 million.[2]

Hearst-Argyle announced its purchase of the nine television stations and two radio stations owned by Pulitzer Publishing Company in May 1998, in a deal worth $1.15 billion in stock.[3] The acquisition was completed in March 1999.[4]

In terms of audience reach, Hearst is the third-largest group owner of ABC-affiliated stations, behind the E. W. Scripps Company and Sinclair Broadcast Group, and ahead of Tegna Inc., and the second-largest group owner of NBC affiliates, behind Tegna.

Hearst-owned ABC affiliates in National Football League markets simulcast Monday Night Football games from ESPN that involve these teams - ESPN is 20% owned by Hearst, the rest being owned by ABC's parent, The Walt Disney Company. Other Hearst-owned stations also carry ESPN-aired NFL games, even though they are affiliated with other networks (like WBAL-TV, Baltimore's NBC affiliate). Hearst also holds some joint ventures for syndicated programming with NBCUniversal Syndication Studios.

On June 3, 2009, the Hearst Corporation announced that it would purchase substantially all of the stock not held by Hearst. Hearst-Argyle Television then dropped "Argyle" from its name and became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Hearst Corporation.[5]

In February 2009, Hearst-Argyle announced that its stations (except for KITV and its satellites in Hawaii, which had already completed their transition to digital, and WPTZ in Plattsburgh, New York, and WNNE in Hartford, Vermont, which followed the other Champlain Valley stations in transitioning on February 17, 2009) would comply with the new DTV transition date of June 12, 2009.

First Hearst-Argyle Television logo from 1997 to 2007.
Hearst-Argyle Television logo, 2007–2009

Currently, Hearst owns a total of 34 overall television stations but considers two groups of four stations and an NBC station with an ABC digital subchannel joint operations, bringing its count down to 31 under that consideration: eleven NBC affiliates, fifteen ABC affiliates (one as a subchannel of an NBC affiliate, and one which acts as a two-station simulcast), two CBS affiliates, six CW affiliates (two traditional, two subchannel (which are part of a two-station simulcast), and two channel shares), one MyNetworkTV affiliate, and one independent station. Most of the company's subchannel stations broadcast either Weigel Broadcasting's MeTV or NBC's Cozi TV through national affiliation deals, along with being charter carriers of Weigel's two newest concepts, Heroes & Icons, and Story Television. Since December 1, 2014, Des Moines CBS affiliate KCCI has used its third subchannel as an H&I affiliate carrying MyNetworkTV programming in primetime. Hearst also owns two radio stations in Baltimore, the last remaining from the company divesting most of their radio assets after the Telecommunications Act of 1996 went into effect. As already mentioned above, none of Hearst's stations have ever held a Fox affiliation, with the exception of two WMUR translators in the northern part of New Hampshire dis-affiliating with the network upon Hearst's assumption of ownership of WMUR.

Candy Altman at the 68th Annual Peabody Awards for Hearst-Argyle Television-Commitment 2008

Some Hearst-owned stations use the "Commitment (Year)" banner for all political news coverage leading up to the local, national, and statewide elections in lieu of a localized version of their associated network's political branding. This started in 2000. Hearst also maintains a Washington, D.C. bureau to assist its stations in coverage of national politics, including on-air reporters and facilities and equipment assistance for local stations. Many Hearst stations license the "Operation High School" branding for coverage of local high school sports. In 2007, Hearst-Argyle became one of the first television broadcasting groups to post its news stories on YouTube. WCVB-TV, KCRA-TV, WTAE-TV, WBAL-TV and WMUR-TV were the first stations in Hearst-Argyle's station group to do this.

Until 2009, three of Hearst's television stations (KCWE, WMOR-TV, and WPBF) and its two radio stations (WBAL radio and WIYY) were owned by Hearst Broadcasting, Inc., an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of the Hearst Corporation through which Hearst ultimately controlled Hearst-Argyle Television, as opposed to Hearst-Argyle itself; Hearst-Argyle still operated these stations under a management services agreement. These stations were transferred to Hearst Television shortly after its privatization.[6][7] Hearst's television and radio cluster in Baltimore additionally serves as the flagship stations and operation bases for the Baltimore Ravens radio and television networks, and as the flagship/operations base for the Baltimore Orioles Radio Network.

On August 20, 2014, it was announced that Hearst Television would acquire WVTM in Birmingham, Alabama, and WJCL in Savannah, Georgia, from Media General, which divested those stations under FCC advisement as part of its acquisition of LIN Media.[8][9]

In 2021, Hearst began to carry the home shopping network Shop LC on several its stations under a revenue-sharing agreement with that network's owners. In most markets, Hearst did not pursue cable or satellite carriage for Shop LC, as the network already pays providers nationwide to carry its network on several channel slots per system.

On September 20, 2021, Hearst launched Very Local, an over-the-top media service which consists of news programming from its television stations as well as nationally produced content such as Chronicle and Matter of Fact.[10][11]

Television production

Hearst Television also produces the weekly public-affairs program Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien. Outside of the Hearst stations and A&E, the show is distributed in national broadcast syndication by Sony Pictures Television.

In 2019, former Today consumer affairs reporter Jeff Rossen joined Hearst as a multi-platform consumer affairs reporter, whose reports (which as of April 2020, include COVID-19 pandemic consumer issue Q&A segments) are syndicated throughout the chain, in addition to full-scale semi-annual consumer specials that are also carried by Hearst Television stations.[12]

Hearst once owned Hearst-Argyle Television Productions, a producer and distributor of syndicated programming. As part of Hearst-Argyle's acquisition of KCRA-TV in Sacramento, the company also acquired Kelly News & Entertainment, which was merged into Hearst-Argyle Television Productions.[13] In January 2001, NBC Enterprises and Hearst-Argyle agreed to merge their production and distribution operations into a joint venture majority-owned by NBC; this followed a December 2000 deal between the NBC-owned stations, Gannett, and Hearst-Argyle to develop programming.[14] NBC Enterprises continued to produce some programming from a Hearst-Argyle facility near Boston until June 2003.[15]

On January 6, 2017, Hearst acquired majority control of Charleston, South Carolina-based syndicator Litton Entertainment, which has control of four of the five E/I-compliant Saturday morning blocks on the five major broadcast networks, along with being a syndicator of traditional programming. The deal closed on February 1.[16] Hearst acquired the remaining interest in Litton in 2021; in January 2022, it rebranded the entity—which, in addition to Litton's existing programming, had also taken over production of Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien— as Hearst Media Production Group.[17]

Current stations

Television

Stations are listed alphabetically by state and city of license.

(**) – Indicates a station that was built and signed-on by Hearst.
City of license / Market Station Channel Owned since Affiliation
BirminghamTuscaloosaAnniston, AL WVTM-TV 13 2014[a] NBC
Fort SmithFayettevilleRogers, AR KHBS 40 1996[b]
KHOG-TV[c] 29 1996[b]
  • ABC
  • The CW (DT2)
SacramentoStocktonModesto, CA KCRA-TV 3 1999[d] NBC
KQCA 58 2000[d] The CW (primary)/MyNetworkTV (secondary)
SalinasMontereySanta Cruz, CA KSBW 8 1998[e]
  • NBC
  • ABC (DT2)
Daytona BeachOrlandoClermont, FL WESH 2 1999[f] NBC
WKCF 18 2006 The CW
Fort MyersCape CoralNaples, FL WBBH-TV 20 2023 NBC
WZVN-TV 26 [g] ABC
LakelandTampaSt. Petersburg, FL WMOR-TV 32 1996 Independent
TequestaWest Palm Beach, FL WPBF 25 1997 ABC
Savannah, GA WJCL 22 2014[a] ABC
Des Moines, IA KCCI 8 1999[f] CBS
Louisville, KY WLKY 32 1999[f] CBS
New Orleans, LA WDSU 6 1999[f] NBC
Poland SpringPortland, ME WMTW 8 2004 ABC
WPXT 51 2018 The CW
Baltimore, MD WBAL-TV** 11 1948 NBC
Boston, MA WCVB-TV 5 1986 ABC
Jackson, MS WAPT 16 1995[b] ABC
Kansas City, MO KMBC-TV 9 1982 ABC
KCWE 29 2001[h] The CW
Omaha, NE KETV 7 1999[f] ABC
Manchester, NH WMUR-TV 9 2001 ABC
AlbuquerqueSanta Fe, NM KOAT-TV 7 1999[f] ABC
Plattsburgh, NYBurlington, VT WPTZ 5 1998[e] NBC
WNNE 31 1998[e] The CW[i]
Winston-SalemGreensboroHigh Point, NC WXII-TV 12 1999[f] NBC
WCWG 20 2018[j] The CW
Cincinnati, OH WLWT 5 1997[b][k] NBC
Oklahoma City, OK KOCO-TV 5 1997[b][k] ABC
LancasterHarrisburgYorkLebanon, PA WGAL 8 1999[f] NBC
Pittsburgh, PA WTAE-TV** 4 1958 ABC
GreenvilleSpartanburgAnderson, SCAsheville, NC WYFF 4 1999[f] NBC
Milwaukee, WI WISN-TV 12 1955 ABC

Radio

AM Station FM Station
City of license / Market Station Owned since Current format
Baltimore, MD WBAL 1090[l] 1935 Newstalk
WIYY 97.9 1960 Mainstream rock

Former stations

Television

City of license / Market Station Channel Years owned Current status
Honolulu, HI KITV 4 1995–2015[b] ABC affiliate owned by Allen Media Broadcasting
Hilo, HI KHVO[m] 4 1995–2015[b] ABC affiliate owned by Allen Media Broadcasting
Wailuku, HI KMAU[m] 4 1995–2015[b] ABC affiliate owned by Allen Media Broadcasting
Grand RapidsKalamazooBattle Creek, MI WZZM 13 1995–1997[b][k] ABC affiliate owned by Tegna Inc.
Buffalo, NY WGRZ 2 1995–1997[b][k] NBC affiliate owned by Tegna Inc.
Dayton, OH WDTN 2 1981–1998[e] NBC affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group[n]
Providence, RINew Bedford, MA WNAC-TV[o] 64 1995–1998[b][e] Fox affiliate owned by Mission Broadcasting[p]
ClarksburgWeston, WV WBOY-TV 12 2001 NBC affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group
New England NECN N/A 1992–2009[q] Cable-only regional news channel owned by NBCUniversal

Radio

(a partial listing)

AM Station FM Station
City of license / Market Station Years owned Current status
Phoenix, AZ KTAR 620 1999–2001[f] Owned by Bonneville International
KMVP 860 1999–2001[f] KNAI, owned by Farmworker Educational Radio Network
KKLT 98.7 1999–2001[f] KMVP-FM, owned by Bonneville International
Los Angeles, CA KEHE 780 1935–1939 KABC (790 AM), owned by Cumulus Media
San Francisco, CA KYA 1260 1934–1942 KSFB, owned by Relevant Radio
Louisville, KY WLKY 970 1999–2000[f] WGTK, owned by Salem Media Group
New York City, NY WGBS / WINS 1010 1931–1946 Owned by Audacy, Inc.
WXII 830 1999–2000[f] WTRU, owned by Truth Broadcasting Corporation
Oklahoma City, OK KOMA 1480 1936–1939 KOKC (1520 AM), owned by Tyler Media Group
Pittsburgh, PA WCAE / WRYT /
WTAE 1250
1931–1997 WPGP, owned by Salem Media Group
WCAE-FM / WRYT-FM /
WTAE-FM / WXKX /
WHTX / WVTY 96.1**
1960–1997 WKST-FM, owned by iHeartMedia
San Juan, PR WAPA 680 1961–1991 WBQN, owned by Wifredo G. Blanco Pi
Austin, TX KNOW 1500 1936–1939 KJFK (1490 AM), owned by Township Media, LLC
San Antonio, TX KTSA 550 1936–1939 Owned by Alpha Media
Waco, TX WACO 1420 1936–1939 KCLE (1460 AM), owned by M&M Broadcasters
Milwaukee, WI WISN 1130 1928–1997 Owned by iHeartMedia
  • WISN-FM/WLPX/
  • WBTT/WLTQ 97.3**
1961–1997 WRNW, owned by iHeartMedia

Notes

  1. ^ a b Acquired by Hearst as divestitures from Media General's acquisition of LIN Media in 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Owned by Argyle Television Holdings II prior to the formation of Hearst-Argyle Television in 1997.
  3. ^ Satellite of KHBS.
  4. ^ a b Owned by Kelly Broadcasting prior to its acquisition by Hearst-Argyle in 1999.
  5. ^ a b c d e Affected by an ownership swap between Hearst-Argyle and Sunrise Television in 1998.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Owned by Pulitzer prior to its acquisition by Hearst-Argyle in 1999.
  7. ^ Owned by Montclair Communications.
  8. ^ KCWE has been managed by Hearst since its sign-on in 1996.
  9. ^ As a result of the incentive auction, WNNE channel shares with WPTZ after the sale of its former spectrum. WNNE previously served Hartford, Vermont, and Hanover, New Hampshire, as a semi-satellite of WPTZ.
  10. ^ As a result of the incentive auction, WCWG channel shares with WXII after the sale of its former spectrum. Hearst purchased WCWG outright on February 12, 2018, from former owner Lockwood Broadcast Group, but operated the station under a secondary shared services arrangement after the channel share went into effect on July 31, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d Affected by an ownership swap between Argyle II and Gannett in 1997.
  12. ^ Utilizes a translator, W268BA, at 101.5 FM.
  13. ^ a b Satellite of KITV.
  14. ^ WDTN was an ABC affiliate under Hearst during its ownership; LIN switched the station's affiliation back to NBC in 2004.
  15. ^ Owned by Argyle, but operated from 1996 to 2001 by Clear Channel Communications under a local marketing agreement (LMA) with WPRI-TV, which Clear Channel owned at the time.
  16. ^ Operated under LMA by Nexstar Media Group.
  17. ^ Joint venture w/Comcast.

References

  1. ^ Rathbun, Elizabeth A. (March 31, 1997). "Hearst stocks up on Argyles; merged TV group with 14 stations, 11.6% coverage is valued at $1.8 billion". Broadcasting & Cable.
  2. ^ "Hearst buys TV in Dayton, plans move into cable" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 26, 1980. Retrieved September 19, 2021.
  3. ^ "WESH adds a sparkle to Hearst-Argyle's star". Orlando Sentinel. May 29, 1998. Retrieved July 1, 2023.
  4. ^ "Hearst completes acquisition of Pulitzer". San Antonio Business Journal. March 15, 1999. Retrieved July 1, 2023.
  5. ^ Malone, Michael (June 3, 2009). "Hearst Moves On Merger". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  6. ^ "Explanation to FCC of Hearst-Argyle privatization" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. May 18, 2009. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  7. ^ "Explanation to FCC of Hearst reorganization" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. July 29, 2009. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  8. ^ "Media General, LIN Sell Stations In 5 Markets". TVNewsCheck. August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  9. ^ Malone, Michael (August 20, 2014). "Media General, LIN Divest Stations in Five Markets". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  10. ^ Television, Hearst. "Hearst Television Launches "Very Local" App Across Popular Streaming Platforms". www.prnewswire.com (Press release). Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  11. ^ Spangler, Todd (September 20, 2021). "Hearst TV Launches Free 'Very Local' Streaming Channels in 26 Markets". Variety. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  12. ^ "Jeff Rossen joins Hearst Television as Chief National Consumer Correspondent". WPBF. December 5, 2019. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  13. ^ "Hearst-Argyle Television Productions to integrate Kelly News & Entertainment". Sacramento Business Journal. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  14. ^ Grego, Melissa (January 25, 2001). "NBC, Hearst-Argyle in programming alliance". Variety. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  15. ^ "NBC Enterprises: Bye, bye Beantown". Broadcasting & Cable. June 6, 2003. Retrieved July 1, 2023.
  16. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (January 6, 2017). "Hearst Acquires Majority Stake in Independent Distributor Litton Entertainment". Variety. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  17. ^ Albiniak, Paige (January 13, 2022). "Hearst Media Production Group is Litton Entertainment's New Name". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved July 1, 2023.