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KEYT Parent Company to Acquire, Help Manage Local TV Stations

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

The parent company of Santa Barbara’s KEYT television station announced a series of planned station acquisitions on Monday, including a shared-services arrangement with KCOY-TV in Santa Maria.

The sale, which is pending Federal Communications Commission approval, comes a year after the Missouri-based News-Press & Gazette Co. finalized its purchase of KEYT from Smith Media, which owns WFFF-TV in Vermont and WKTV in New York.

NPG announced its intent to purchase San Luis Obispo-based KKFX-CA (FOX), KION-TV (CBS) and KMUV-LP (Telemundo) — both based in Monterey — from Cowles California Media Company, a family owned subsidiary of The Cowles Co. based in Spokane, Wash. 

As part of the deal, the two media companies will enter into a shared-services agreement with the Cowles Media-owned KCOY-TV, the Central Coast’s FOX-affiliate station.

NPG will provide operating assistance to the station, including news, back office, engineering and sales support services, while Cowles Media will continue to maintain control over general management, programming and sales management, according to NPG.

Officials said the transactions were expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013.

KEYT, the Central Coast’s ABC affiliate station, was purchased late last year in a $14.25 million deal, which also included NPG picking up a related digital television property, MyRTV, in the hopes of growing the Santa Barbara market — the company’s second foray into the California market that also includes Palm Springs.

NPG, which has a news presence in 10 markets throughout the country, carried over all KEYT staff and management from Smith Media except for the general manager position, which was taken over by Mark Danielson.

Since that time, Jim Lemon was hired on as the station’s news director, and the company has invested more than $1 million in new equipment and rebranding efforts.

KEYT also reopened a satellite office in Santa Maria, switched to high-definition news production, hired several new reporters, installed a new digital transmitter in San Luis Obsipo, and launched a new website.

The Cowles Company owns and operates The Spokane Spokesman-Review newspaper as well as television stations in Spokane, Yakima and Kennewick, Wash.

Details concerning how the acquisition would affect news operations at the involved stations were not immediately available.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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» on 09.24.13 @ 07:17 AM

Hopefully the consolidation will also result in a new antenna for KEYT.  They inherited the current one and it has terrible coverage locally. 

If you are not on a hill top or out towards Goleta most likely you do not get KEYT with an antenna, that then makes it useless if emergency hits and Cox goes out.

» on 09.24.13 @ 03:26 PM

Apart from the clear oligopoly consideration, this is terrible
for tv viewers who actually hope to get “local news”.

With the exception of John Palminteri, no one from KEYT has
the slightest clue what’s going on in the area they’re paid
to cover.

Half the current “news” slot is re-runs of the national news
feed, medical informercials, and the weather guy, coming on 2
or 3 times, to make predictions that are wrong 40% of the time. The other half are stories lifted word for word from
the News-Press, Independent, or Noozhawk, probably by recent
City College graduates.

Sometimes, when something important was going on in the county
we found ourselves channel surfing to 6 or 12, to find a place
where they actually report about local news.

We generally get much better quality from the north county on
south coast stories than we ever get from KEYT.

Maybe it was too much to hope that KEYT could continue its
commitment to quality news coverage after owner Bob Smith had
passed away.

But KEYT’s current, budget-slashing clowns seem to have a goal
below mediocrity.

Now they’re threatening to take two other local stations down
the tubes with them.

Hope, hope, and pray that the FCC steps in to block this farce
being perpetrated on local viewers.

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