Multimedia, Inc.
TypePublic
IndustryMedia
Founded1967; 54 years ago (1967)
Defunct1995; 26 years ago (1995)
FateAcquired by Gannett Co. (television counterpart sold to Universal Studios in 1996; cable TV counterpart sold to Cox Communications in 2000)
Assets now existing as part of Gannett and Tegna Inc.
HeadquartersGreenville, South Carolina
Key people
Craig A. Dubow; Chairman, President & CEO
ProductsNewspapers, television, and Internet media
Number of employees
49,675

Multimedia, Inc. was a media company that owned 10 daily newspapers, three weekly newspapers, two radio stations, five television stations, and a cable television system division. The company was headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina.

History

Multimedia's origins can be traced to December 1932, when the News-Piedmont Company of Greenville, which published the Greenville News and Greenville Piedmont newspapers, acquired radio station WFBC, only weeks after the station relocated to Greenville from Knoxville, Tennessee. In November 1953 the News-Piedmont Co. acquired majority ownership of the Asheville Citizen and Asheville Times and its wholly owned radio station, WWNC. WFBC-TV, the News and Piedmont's television station, signed on from Greenville at the end of 1953.

The News-Piedmont Co. would expand its broadcast holdings with the acquisitions of WBIR-AM-FM-TV in Knoxville in 1961, and of the Southeastern Broadcasting Company, which owned WMAZ-AM-FM-TV in Macon, Georgia, in 1963. Then, in September 1967 the three commonly owned companies were merged, taking on the Multimedia, Inc. name. At the time Multimedia consisted of the Asheville and Greenville newspapers, three television stations and seven radio stations.

The company's biggest purchases came in 1976, when it purchased several properties from Cincinnati-based Avco, which was liquidating its media holdings. Multimedia first bought Avco's flagship television station, WLWT in Cincinnati, and later acquired Avco Embassy Television, the syndication division which produced and nationally distributed The Phil Donahue Show and a regionally-distributed program produced at WLWT, The Bob Braun Show. Avco Embassy would be renamed Multimedia Entertainment.

The company was involved in one of the more unusual media transactions in history. In 1983, it sold its flagship television station, WFBC-TV in Greenville (now WYFF) and WXII-TV in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Pulitzer, Inc. In return, Multimedia received Pulitzer's former flagship television station, KSDK in St. Louis. Multimedia used its new purchase as the testing ground for a new show hosted by Sally Jessy Raphael.

General Electric's NBC unit was considered to buy the company in 1995, but the deal never materialized.[1]

On July 24, 1995, the Gannett Company announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire Multimedia for $1.7 billion, plus $539 million in long-term debt.[2][3][4][5][6] The merger was approved by the FCC in November 1995 and was completed a month later, on December 4.[7][8] and after the sale was finalized, in November 1996, Gannett sold Multimedia Entertainment to MCA subsidiary of Seagram.[9][10][11] In January 2000 the cable television division, which included systems in Kansas, Oklahoma and North Carolina was sold to Cox Communications. The North Carolina systems were resold to Suddenlink Communications in 2006.

The Multimedia name lives on as a holding company and licensee within what is now Tegna Inc.'s corporate structure. Productions under Multimedia Entertainment are now part of the NBCUniversal Television Distribution archives.

Former Multimedia-owned stations

Stations are listed in alphabetical order by state and city of license.

Television stations

Note: two boldface asterisks appearing following a station's call letters (**) indicate a station that was built and signed on by a predecessor company of Multimedia.

City of license / Market Station Channel
TV (RF)
Years owned Current ownership status
Macon, Georgia WMAZ-TV 13 (13) 1963–1995 CBS affiliate owned by Tegna
St. Louis KSDK 5 (35) 1983–1995 NBC affiliate owned by Tegna
Winston-Salem - Greensboro - High Point WXII-TV 12 (31) 1972–1983 NBC affiliate owned by Hearst Television
Cincinnati WLWT 5 (35) 1976–1995 NBC affiliate owned by Hearst Television
Cleveland WKYC-TV 1 3 (17) 1991–1995 NBC affiliate owned by Tegna
Greenville - Spartanburg - Asheville WFBC-TV ** 4 (36) 1954–1983 NBC affiliate, WYFF, owned by Hearst Television
Knoxville WBIR-TV 10 (10) 1960–1995 NBC affiliate owned by Tegna
Nashville WZTV 17 (15) 1979–1988 Fox affiliate owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group

Footnotes:

Radio stations

AM Station FM Station
Market Station Years owned Current ownership
Little Rock KAAY-1090 1975–1985 Owned by Cumulus Media
KEZQ-FM/KLPQ-FM-93.7 1976–1985 KKPT, owned by Signal Media
Macon, Georgia WMAZ-940 1963–1995 WMAC, owned by Cumulus Media
WMAZ-FM/WAYS-99.1 1963–1995 WDEN-FM, owned by Cumulus Media
Louisville WAKY-790 1975–1985 WKRD, owned by iHeartMedia
WVEZ-106.9 1980–1985 Owned by SummitMedia
Shreveport KEEL-710 1975–1994 Owned by Townsquare Media
KMBQ-FM/KITT-FM-93.7 1975–1994 KXKS-FM, owned by Townsquare Media
Asheville, North Carolina WWNC-570 1953–1987 Owned by iHeartMedia
Greenville, South Carolina WFBC-1330** 1932–1995 WYRD, owned by Audacy, Inc.
WFBC-FM-93.7** 1947–1995 Owned by Audacy
Spartanburg, South Carolina WORD-910 1989–1994 Owned by Audacy, Inc.
Knoxville WBIR-1240 1961–1980 WIFA, owned by Salem Media Group
WBIR-FM-103.5 1961–1980 WIMZ-FM, owned by Midwest Communications
Wauwatosa - Milwaukee, WI WEZW-103.7 1978–1994 WXSS, owned by Audacy, Inc.

References

  1. ^ Carter, Bill (June 13, 1995). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; NBC Group Is Set to Bid For the Assets of Multimedia". The New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  2. ^ Fabrikant, Geraldine (July 25, 1995). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Expanding in TV, Gannett Agrees to Buy Multimedia". The New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  3. ^ Farhi, Paul (July 25, 1995). "GANNETT CO. TO PURCHASE MEDIA FIRM". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  4. ^ Jones, Tim (July 25, 1995). "GANNETT WIDENS SCOPE, ACQUIRING MULTIMEDIA". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  5. ^ "Gannett, Multimedia announce merger agreement" (Press release). Gannett. December 4, 1995. Retrieved July 2, 2021 – via Tegna Inc.
  6. ^ "Gannett agrees to buy Multimedia Inc". Tampa Bay Times. July 25, 1995. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  7. ^ "FCC Approves Buy Of Multimedia By Gannett". Variety. December 3, 1995. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  8. ^ "Multimedia deal closes". United Press International. December 4, 1995. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  9. ^ Fabrikant, Geraldine (November 26, 1996). "Unit of MCA is Acquiring Talk Shows". The New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  10. ^ "MCA to Buy Syndicator of 'Sally', 'Jerry' Shows". Los Angeles Times. November 26, 1996. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  11. ^ McClellan, Steve (December 2, 1996). "MCA buys Multimedia shows" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved July 10, 2021.