Gray Television, Inc. is a television broadcast company headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. Established in 1946 by James Harrison Gray, a New Englander who moved to Southwest Georgia, he formed Gray Communications Systems (now Gray Television) which has grown since 1993 into a modern-day, successful television group based out of Atlanta, Georgia through a series of acquisitions ranging from 1993-2014.

Gray Television owns and/or operates 93 television stations in 51 television markets broadcasting 190 program streams including 96 affiliates of the Big Four networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox). Gray Television's owned and/or operated stations include 36 channels affiliated with the CBS Network, 27 channels affiliated with the NBC Network, 19 channels affiliated with the ABC Network and 14 channels affiliated with the Fox Network.[23]

The combined station group owns and operates the number-one or number-two ranked television station operations in 50 of those 51 markets. The combined TV Station Group reaches approximately 9.5 percent of total United States television households.

History

James H. Gray started his communication business with the purchase of The Albany Herald in 1946 after he returned from World War II. Gray launced WALB-TV in 1954. In the 1960s additional stations were purchased in Louisiana and Florida. First in 1960, the Florida station was WJHG-TV in Panama City. While in the late 1960s, KTVE was the Louisiana station.[24]

In 1986, Gray died leaving his 50.% share of the stock in a trust for his children with stipulation that they run the business together, sell their stock each other or sell out together. This caused difficulties as two of the three wanted to sell with the third unable to purchases. In 1991 to break the stalemate, the board of directors had the company purchased 25% of their shares.[24]

Gray Communication Systems

Fiscal
Year
Revenue
millions
Net Income
(Loss) millions[24]
1994$36.5$2.8
199558.6.9
199679.32.5

The company was then taken public on NASDAQ's small-cap market in the 2nd quarter 1992. The price per share drop to $8. The company put itself or any part up for sale by the end of 1992. While the board of director received about 40 offer, Bull Run Corporation purchased the remaining shares of the Gray siblings, who as part of the deal resigned from the board.[24]

New management were put in place at all three units. Bull Run Corporation, primarily owned by J. Mack Robinson, decided make Gray a Southeast regional media company. Gray's first purchase were two TV stations (WKYT-TV and WYMT) from the failed and government seized Kentucky Central Life Insurance Co. in September 1994 after a court challenge to the sale by Kentucky Central builder Garvie Kincaid.[24]

In 1994 and 1995, Gray purchased two newspaper group with two newspapers, the Rockdale Citizen (acquired May 31, 1994) and Gwinnett Post-Tribune (acquired January 1995; quickly renamed Gwinnett Daily Post) and seven advertising weeklies. In 1995, the company moved its stock listing to the New York Stock Exchange. By this time, Robinson, directly or through Bull Run, owned 44% of the company's stock. Gray had started to focus on its TV station segment over the newspaper holding while TV produced more income and the newspapers' income were declining. Just months after doubling the Daily Post's staff, one third were laid off and a quarter of The Albany Herald's staff followed in January 1996. Newspaper leaders resigned during this period from the corporate president in late 1995 to Citizens' editor and publisher.[24]

In 1996, Gray added additional TV stations while entering additional communication industry segments. The company was considered in 1996 by Fortune magazine as the 81st fastest growing company having a 48% percent growth rate. WRDW-TV was purchased in January 1996. In September 1996 a basket purchase from First American Media, Inc., Gray got two TV stations (WCTV-TV and WVLT-TV), Satellite and Production Business Services, which was renamed Lynqx Communications and PortaPhone paging business.[24]

In August and September 1996, Gray raised additional operating funds by various means. On August 20, KTVE was sold for cash and accounts receivable. The company issued and sold Class B common stock (through a public offering), senior subordinated notes and preferred stock in September. Also, a new bank credit facility was arranged. This brought the company total $534.5 million in available funds with $409.5 million directly available.[24]

Also in September 1996, Ralph Gabbard, the newly named president and CEO, died from a heart attack at age 50. Robinson, Bull Run chair, took over as interim CEO and president with Rull Run CEO Robert Prather as interim executive vice-president, acquisitions.[24]

With its additional funds, Gray continued purchasing in 1997 with two announcements in January and February. The company bought Gulflink Communications, Inc., a transportable satellite uplink business based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in April 1997 to go along with Lynqx. With Raycom Media acquiring a station from AFLAC Broadcast Group, Inc. forcing them to sell WITN-TV to Gray, which was finalized on August 1, 1997. Gwinnett Daily Post increased circulation in 1997 through a deal with Genesis Cable Communications to provide the paper to its metro Atlanta subscribers at Genesis's expense.[24]

In 1998, Gray started to expand beyond its Southeast region. As the company agreed to purchase the Busse Broadcasting Corporation, which owned KOLN, KGIN-TV and WEAU. Gray's ownership of a newspaper and TV station in Albany, Georgia while grandfather was examined under Media cross-ownership in the United States rule of FCC due to this potential purchase.[24] WALB was thus was sold to Liberty Corp's Cosmos Broadcasting in August 1998.[25]

In 2002, Robinson became Chairman and CEO, his son-in-law Hilton Howell vice chairman, Prather president/COO and Jim Ryan senior vice president. They had Gray purchase 14 Benedek Broadcasting station while that company was in bankruptcy.[26]

Gray Television

In 2006, the company spun off its five daily newspapers and wireless messaging business into the newly formed Triple Crown Media,[27] later in 2010 is renamed Southern Community Newspapers.[28] A new strategy of purchasing station in college towns or capitals was put into place.[26]

The company had overpaid for a pair of stations. The station was over leveraged like many other station groups entering the Great Recession. Advertising revenues dropped. The twin problems caused its shares to trade at its lowest at 16 cents in 2008, thus the NYSE indicate they might delist the company. Loan covenants could have forced the company into default.[26] Robinson stepped down with Howell replacing him in 2008.[26]

On July 30, 2009, Gray was awarded a contract to manage seven Young Broadcasting-owned stations. Through December 31, 2012, Gray would earn $2.2 million and an opportunity to earn additional specified incentive fees if certain performance targets were exceeded.[2][3][4]

Prather left the company in 2013 and Howell took over the president title.[26] On November 4, 2013, Gray Television announced that it would purchase Yellowstone Holdings for $23 million, adding local stations: KGNS-TV, KGWN, KCWY, and KCHY-LP.[5] Three weeks later, on November 20, Gray announced it would purchase Hoak Media and Parker Broadcasting for $335 million, and North Dakota's Fox affiliate KNDX/KXND for $7.5 million. As part of the deal, stations KAQY, KHAS-TV, and KXJB, were proposed to be sold to Excalibur Broadcasting and operated by Gray under a "local marketing agreements".[6] On December 19, it was announced that stations KREX-TV and WMBB would be sold to Nexstar Broadcasting Group, while KFQX would be sold to Mission Broadcasting.[7] On March 25, 2014, Prime Cities Broadcasting, owner of KNDX/KXND, requested that the FCC dismiss the sale of KNDX/KXND to Excalibur.[8]

The sale was completed on June 13, 2014. However, some stations were forced to go off the air and their programming was moved to a multicast stream on adjacent channels, due to some stations unable to receive regulatory approval, after FCC recent ruling on joint sales agreements. Those silent stations would then be sold off to minority interest, pending FCC approval.[9][10]

On July 24, 2014, SJL Broadcasting announced that it would sell WJRT-TV, WTVG and WT05 to Gray, for $128 million.[11][12] The sale was completed on September 15.[13]

In September 2015, Gray announced that it would acquire the television and radio stations of Schurz Communications for $442.5 million.[14][280] It also purchased KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa from the locally owned Gazette Company, who owned the station from its sign-on in 1953.[16][17]

By January 20, 2016, Gray had set up their Washington News Bureau.[30]

On May 13, 2016, Gray announced that it would acquire WDTV and WVFX in Clarksburg, West Virginia from Withers Broadcasting for $26.5 million.[31] On June 3, 2016, it was announced that Gray would acquire two stations that were spun-off from the Nexstar-Media General merger; KWQC-TV in Davenport, Iowa and WBAY-TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin for $270 million.[32][33] On February 16, 2017, Gray announced that it will acquire WABI-TV in Bangor, Maine and WCJB-TV in Gainesville, Florida from Diversified Communications for $85 million.[34] On May 4, 2017, Gray announced its intent to acquire WCAX-TV in Burlington, Vermont from Mount Mansfield Television for $29 million.[23][23]

Owned and operated television stations

Stations arranged alphabetically by state and by city of license.

Notes:

  • (++) – Indicates a station previously owned by Benedek Broadcasting. All stations, except for KGWN/KSTF and KOSA, were acquired by Gray in 2002.
  • (¤¤) – Indicates a station owned by Hoak Media prior to its acquisition by Gray in 2014.
  • (§§) – Indicates a station owned by Schurz Communications prior to its acquisition by Gray in 2016.
  • (♦♦) – Indicates a station owned by Diversified Communications prior to its acquisition by Gray in 2017.
City of license / MarketStationChannel
TV (RF)
Owned sinceNetwork affiliation
Dothan, AlabamaWTVY ++4 (36)2002CBS
MyNetworkTV (DT2)
The CW (DT3)
NBC (DT4)
WRGX-LD23 (23)2013NBC
Anchorage, AlaskaKTUU-TV §§2 (10)2016NBC
KYES-TV5 (5)2016MyNetworkTV
Fairbanks, AlaskaKTVF11 (26)2017NBC
MyNetworkTV (DT2)
CBS (DT3)
KXDF-CD13 (13)2017CBS
NBC (CD2)
KFXF-LD22 (22)2017MyNetworkTV
CBS (LD2)
Colorado Springs, ColoradoKKTV ++11 (49)2002CBS
MyNetworkTV/MeTV (DT2)
Grand Junction, ColoradoKJCT-LP8 (20)2013ABC
The CW (LD2)
KKCO11 (12)2005NBC
MeTV (DT2)
Telemundo (DT3)
Gainesville, FloridaWCJB-TV ♦♦20 (16)2017ABC
The CW (DT2)
Panama City, FloridaWJHG-TV7 (8)1960NBC
The CW (DT2)
CBS (DT3)
WECP-LD18 (18)2012CBS
MyNetworkTV/Jewelry Television (LD2)
Heroes & Icons (LD3)
Augusta, GeorgiaWRDW-TV12 (12)1996CBS
MyNetworkTV (DT2)
WAGT-CD26 (30)2016NBC
The CW (CD2)
Thomasville, Georgia - Tallahassee, FloridaWCTV6 (46)1996CBS
MyNetworkTV/Decades (DT2)
Valdosta, Georgia - Albany, GeorgiaWSWG
(Semi-satellite of WCTV)
44 (43)2005CBS
MyNetworkTV/MeTV (DT2)
The CW (DT3)
Twin Falls, IdahoKMVT11 (11)2015CBS
The CW (DT2)
KSVT-LD14 (14)2015Fox/MyNetworkTV
Rockford, IllinoisWIFR-LD23 (41)2016CBS
South Bend, IndianaWNDU-TV16 (42)2006NBC
Antenna TV (DT2)
Cozi TV (DT3)
Cedar Rapids, IowaKCRG-TV9 (9)2015ABC
MyNetworkTV (DT2)
Davenport, IowaKWQC-TV6 (36)2017NBC
Topeka, KansasWIBW-TV ++13 (13)2002CBS
MyNetworkTV/MeTV (DT2)
Hutchinson - Wichita, KansasKWCH-DT §§12 (19)2016CBS
KSCW-DT §§33 (12)2016The CW
KDCU-DT31 (31)1Univision
Ensign, KansasKBSD-DT §§
(satellite of KWCH-DT)
6 (6)2016CBS
Goodland, KansasKBSL-DT §§
(satellite of KWCH-DT)
10 (10)2016CBS
Hays, KansasKBSH-DT §§
(satellite of KWCH-DT)
7 (7)2016CBS
Bowling Green, KentuckyWBKO ++13 (13)2002ABC
Fox (DT2)
The CW (DT3)
W14DG-D14 (14)2016Low-powered translator of WBKO
Lexington, KentuckyWKYT-TV27 (36)1993CBS
The CW (DT2)
Hazard, KentuckyWYMT-TV
(Semi-satellite of WKYT)
57 (12)1993CBS
Alexandria, LouisianaKALB-TV ¤¤5 (35)2014NBC
CBS (DT2)
The CW (DT3)
Monroe, LouisianaKNOE-TV ¤¤8 (8)2014CBS
ABC (DT2)
The CW (DT3)
Bangor, MaineWABI-TV ♦♦5 (13)2017CBS
The CW (DT2)
Presque Isle, MaineWAGM-TV8 (8)2015CBS
Fox (DT2)
Flint - Saginaw, MichiganWJRT-TV12 (12)2014ABC
MeTV (DT2)
Onondaga - Lansing, MichiganWILX-TV ++10 (10)2002NBC
Marquette, MichiganWLUC-TV6 (35)2016NBC
Fox (DT2)
Meridian, MississippiWTOK-TV ++11 (11)2002ABC
MyNetworkTV (DT2)
The CW (DT3)
Springfield, MissouriKYTV §§3 (44)2016NBC
KYCW-LD25 (19)2016The CW
KSPR-LD §§33 (15)2016ABC
The CW (DT2)
K17DL-D §§17 (17)2Independent
Washington - Greenville, North CarolinaWITN-TV7 (32)1997NBC
MyNetworkTV (DT2)
MeTV (DT3)
Lincoln, NebraskaKOLN10 (10)1998CBS
NBC (DT2)
Grand Island, NebraskaKGIN
(Satellite of KOLN)
11 (11)1998CBS
NBC (DT2)
Superior, NebraskaKSNB-TV4 (4)2013NBC
MyNetworkTV/MeTV (DT2)
North Platte, NebraskaKNOP-TV ¤¤2 (2)2014NBC
Fox (DT2)
KNPL-LD
(Semi-satellite of KOLN)
10 (25)1998CBS
MeTV (LD2)
KIIT-CD ¤¤11 (11)2014Fox
Omaha, NebraskaWOWT ++6 (22)2002NBC
Reno, NevadaKOLO-TV8 (8)2002ABC
Bismarck, North DakotaKFYR-TV ¤¤5 (31)2014NBC
Fox (DT2)
MeTV (DT3)
Dickinson, North DakotaKQCD-TV ¤¤
(Satellite of KFYR)
7 (7)2014NBC
Fox (DT2)
MeTV (DT3)
Minot, North DakotaKMOT ¤¤
(Semi-satellite of KFYR)
10 (10)2014NBC
Fox (DT2)
MeTV (DT3)
Williston, North DakotaKUMV-TV ¤¤
(Satellite of KMOT)
8 (8)2014NBC
Fox (DT2)
MeTV (DT3)
Fargo - Grand Forks, North DakotaKVLY-TV ¤¤11 (44)2014NBC
CBS (DT2)
MeTV (DT3)
KXJB-LD30 (30)2016CBS
The CW (LD2)
Heroes & Icons (LD3)
Toledo, OhioWTVG13 (13)2014ABC
The CW (DT2)
Rapid City, South DakotaKOTA-TV3 (7)2014ABC
KEVN-LD7 (23)2015Fox
Lead, South DakotaKHSD-TV
(Satellite of KOTA-TV)
5 (5)2014ABC
Fox (DT2)
Sioux Falls, South DakotaKSFY-TV ¤¤13 (13)2014ABC
The CW (DT2)
Aberdeen, South DakotaKABY-TV ¤¤
(Satellite of KSFY)
9 (9)2014ABC
The CW (DT2)
Pierre, South DakotaKPRY-TV ¤¤
(Satellite of KSFY)
4 (19)2014ABC
The CW (DT2)
Knoxville, TennesseeWVLT-TV8 (30)1996CBS
MyNetworkTV (DT2)
WBXX-TV20 (20)2016The CW
Laredo, TexasKGNS-TV8 (8)2013NBC
ABC (DT2)
Telemundo (DT3)
KYLX-LD13 (13)2015CBS
The CW (LD2)
Odessa - Midland, TexasKOSA-TV ++7 (7)2015CBS
MyNetworkTV (DT2)
Sherman, TexasKXII12 (12)1999CBS
MyNetworkTV (DT2)
Fox (DT3)
Waco, TexasKWTX-TV10 (10)1999CBS
The CW (DT2)
Bryan, TexasKBTX-TV
(Semi-satellite of KWTX)
3 (50)1999CBS
The CW (DT2)
Burlington, VermontWCAX-TV3 (22)2017CBS
Charlottesville, VirginiaWVAW-LD ++16 (16)2002ABC
WCAV19 (19)2004CBS
Fox (DT3)
WAHU-CD27 (40)2005Fox
MyNetworkTV/MeTV (CD2)
Harrisonburg, VirginiaWHSV-TV ++3 (49)2002ABC
CBS (DT2)
MyNetworkTV/MeTV (DT4)
WSVF-CD43 (43)2012Fox
CBS (CD2)
Roanoke - Lynchburg, VirginiaWDBJ §§7 (18)2016CBS
MyNetworkTV (DT2)
Green Bay - Appleton, WisconsinWBAY-TV2 (23)2017ABC
Eau Claire - La Crosse, WisconsinWEAU13 (38)1998NBC
Madison, WisconsinWMTV ++15 (19)2002NBC
The CW (DT2)
Wausau, WisconsinWSAW-TV ++7 (7)2002CBS
MyNetworkTV/MeTV (DT2)
Fox (DT3)
WZAW-LD55 (33)2015Fox
MeTV (LD2)
Movies! (LD3)
Huntington - Charleston, West Virginia -
Portsmouth, Ohio
WSAZ-TV3 (23)2005NBC
MyNetworkTV/MeTV (DT2)
WQCW30 (17)2014The CW
Parkersburg, West VirginiaWTAP-TV ++15 (49)2002NBC
WOVA-LD22 (22)2012Fox/Jewelry Television
WIYE-LD47 (47)2012CBS
MyNetworkTV/MeTV (LD2)
Weston - Clarksburg -
Fairmont, West Virginia
WDTV5 (5)2017CBS
MeTV (DT2)
WVFX10 (10)2017Fox
The CW (DT2)
Casper, WyomingKCWY-DT13 (13)2013NBC
The CW (DT2)
Sheridan, WyomingKSGW-TV §§
(satellite of KOTA-TV)
12 (13)2016ABC
NBC (DT2)
Cheyenne, WyomingKGWN-TV ++5 (30)2013CBS
The CW (DT3)
KCHY-LP
(Satellite of KCWY)
132013NBC
Scottsbluff, NebraskaKSTF ++
(Semi-satellite of KGWN)
10 (29)2013CBS
NBC (DT2)
Sidney, NebraskaKNEP §§
(Satellite of KOTA-TV)
4 (7)2016ABC
NBC (DT2)

Other Notes:

Former stations

City of license / MarketStationChannel
TV (RF)
Years ownedCurrent ownership status
El Dorado, Arkansas - Monroe, LouisianaKTVE10 (27)1967–1996NBC affiliate owned by Mission Broadcasting
(operated through a SSA by Nexstar Media Group)
KAQY11 (11)1MeTV affiliate, KMLU, owned by Legacy Broadcasting
Albany, GeorgiaWALB-TV 210 (10)1954–1998NBC affiliate owned by Raycom Media
Augusta, GeorgiaWAGT §§26 (30)2016–2017defunct, License cancelled in 2017.
(Intellectual unit and NBC programming transferred to a Gray-owned license and renamed WAGT-CD.)
Freeport - Rockford, IllinoisWIFR ++23 (41)2002–2017defunct, License cancelled in 2017.
(Intellectual unit and CBS programming transferred to a Gray-owned license and renamed WIFR-LD.)
Wichita, KansasKAKE ++10 (10)2002–2016ABC affiliate owned by Lockwood Broadcast Group
Colby, KansasKLBY ++
(Satellite of KAKE)
4 (17)2002–2016ABC affiliate owned by Lockwood Broadcast Group
Garden City, KansasKUPK ++
(Satellite of KAKE)
13 (13)2002–2016ABC affiliate owned by Lockwood Broadcast Group
Springfield, MissouriKSPR/KGHZ33 (19)3defunct, License cancelled in 2017.
(Intellectual unit and ABC programming transferred to a Gray-owned license and renamed KSPR-LD.)
Helena, MontanaKMTF10 (29)2014–2015PBS member station, KUHM-TV, owned by Montana State University
KTVH-DT12 (12)2014–2015NBC affiliate owned by Cordillera Communications
Fargo, North DakotaKXJB-TV4 (38)1Cozi TV affiliate, KRDK-TV, owned by Major Market Broadcasting
Grand Junction, ColoradoKJCT 48 (7)2013–2014Cozi TV affiliate, KGBY, owned by Chang Media Group
Winchester, VirginiaTV3 Winchester 53
(Cable Only)
2007–2013defunct

Notes:

  • 1 Owned by Parker Broadcasting, Gray operated KAQY & KXJB under a shared services agreement, with sister stations KNOE & KVLY, respectively.
  • 2 Former flagship station
  • 3 Owned by Schurz Communications, Gray operated KSPR/KGHZ under a shared services agreement from 2016 until the station's license cancellation in 2017.
  • 4 Owned by Excalibur Broadcasting, Gray operated KJCT under a Local marketing agreement, with sister station, KKCO.
  • 5 TV-3 Winchester was Winchester, Virginia's cable-only ABC affiliate. The station was a joint operation of WHSV-TV of Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Shenandoah University, and appeared on cable systems located only in the northern Shenandoah Valley counties. The channel was also simulcasted on WHSV-DT3.

Management of Young Broadcasting stations

On July 22, 2009, a New York bankruptcy judge approved a plan transferring ownership of Young Broadcasting and its stations to the company's secured lenders. The plan included Gray Television coming in as an outside party and advise on operations of Young-owned stations in seven markets through December 2012. (The new Young Broadcasting still has final word on the stations' operations, including programming and personnel.)[2][4]

The Young-owned stations managed by Gray Television include:

Young Broadcasting would retain ownership of all of its stations, including three stations that Gray would not operate: KRON-TV in San Francisco, California, WATE-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee, and WLNS-TV in Lansing, Michigan, the latter two due to Gray already owning stations in those markets. Gray considered the possibility of purchasing the Young stations if they go on the market.[23]

The agreement ended without any further extensions on December 31, 2012, and Young agreed to a merger with Media General in mid-2013. Gray would eventually buy KWQC and WBAY when Nexstar Broadcasting Group acquired Media General in 2017.[32][33]

Washington News Bureau

By January 20, 2016, Gray had set up their Washington News Bureau by Jacqueline Policastro to enable stations to get interviews with US Senators and Representatives serving their communities. The bureau cooperates with Lilly News DC Bureau, previously started by Policastro, and is located at the NBC News Capitol Hill Bureau, 400 N Capitol Street.[30]