NABOB and MMTC Express Optimism for Minority-Owned Marshall Broadcasting Group Purchase of TV Stations from Nexstar Broadcasting

by mmtcbbsj on June 10, 2014

Last week, Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced that it is selling three Fox affiliates to minority-owned Marshall Broadcasting Group. The National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) has voiced support of the transaction, with some reservations pending FCC oversight into the deal. MMTC President David Honig echoes NABOB’s sentiments: 

“This transaction could be a promising development for minority ownership in media, an issue MMTC has long supported,” Honig stated. “Marshall Broadcasting Group will have full control of the programming on the stations, which brings with it the possibility of expanding the diversity of information available to the public.”

NABOB’s full statement is below:

June 9, 2014 – The National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) is pleased to see the announced acquisition of three television stations by Marshall Broadcasting Group (MBG) in a Joint Sales Agreement (JSA) transaction with Nexstar Broadcasting. In the transaction, MBG will acquire stations in Odessa, Texas; Shreveport, Louisiana, and Davenport, Iowa. For the deal to be completed, the Federal Communications Commission must grant MBG and Nexstar a waiver of its new rule, which treats JSAs as attributable.

NABOB has supported the new rule because it may cause broadcasters to choose: (1) to seek a waiver of the JSA rule, by joining with a minority owner to develop a truly independent station operation, or (2) to sell stations outright to minority purchasers.

In response to the announcement, Jim Winston, Executive Director of NABOB said, “NABOB has criticized previous JSA deals because some JSA operators: (1) maintained 30 year options to acquire the station that was subject to the JSA, (2) set a low option price that did not change for the 30 year period, and (3) owned most of the tangible assets of the JSA station. We are pleased that none of these terms appear in the MBG-Nexstar deal.”

Winston continued, “This is the type of transaction NABOB was hoping to see as a result of the new JSA rule. Pluria Marshall, Jr. is the type of person, with a long history in radio station ownership and operation, who has the potential to become a successful television station owner and operator. This appears to be the kind of transaction that should receive a waiver of the rule.”

Winston noted however, “We still have some questions about the transaction, and we anticipate that the Commission will seek additional information from the parties about the transaction. We are optimistic that, as additional information is supplied to the Commission, NABOB will be able to wholeheartedly endorse this transaction. As described, it represents the type of agreement that could be beneficial to increasing minority ownership of broadcast properties and create increased opportunities for minority-owned content producers and channels.”

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving equal opportunity and civil rights in the mass media, telecommunications and broadband industries, and closing the digital divide. MMTC is generally recognized as the nation’s leading advocate for minority advancement in communications.

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