Chattanooga's ABC television affiliate, WTVC-TV9, should get a new owner by next spring, pending FCC and shareholder approval.
The Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. announced today it will buy the parent company of Channel 9, the broadcast division of Freedom Communications, for $385 million. Freedom Communications emerged from bankruptcy in April and the sale would transfer ownership of eight TV stations in seven markets.
"We believe our expertise and presence will enable us to improve the stations' competitive position and profitability," Sinclair CEO David Smith said in his announcement today.
Smith said the purchase will boost Sinclair's presence in West Palm Beach, Fla., Freedom's largest market, but also "allows us to expand our middle market position and network diversification."
The sale is subject to approval by sharehodlers of Freedom by next Tuesday and is still subject to approval from the Federal Communications Commission.
The Freedom-owned television stations included in the sale are in West Palm Beach, Fla., Grand Rapid, Mich., Albany, New York, Chattanooga, Lansing, Mich., Medford-Dlamath Falls, Ore., and Beaumont, Tex.
WTVC-TV9 has been owned by Freedom Communications since 1984.