Sinclair buys Chattanooga TV stations WDSI-TV and WFLI-TV

Sinclair Broadcasting Group buys the assets of WDSI-TV61 in Chattanooga, which also operates CW of Chattanooga, including the stations' Main Street broadcast facility.

The parent company of Chattanooga's ABC television affiliate, WTVC-TV9, has purchased the programming and assets of WDSI-TV and WFLI-TV.

Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which owns WTVC-TV9 in Chattanooga, paid $1.25 million last week to buy the assets and programming of New Age Media of Tennessee, which owns Fox-61 (Channel 61) and CW Chattanooga (Channel 53), according to property deeds filed with the Hamilton County Register of Deeds.

"We've acquired the programming contracts and assets and will basically manage the stations, but for the viewer there will be no immediate changes," said Mike Costa, general manager for WTVC-TV 9. "We're bringing our teams together, but there will continue to be sales staff selling Fox and CW and this sales team will continue to sell WTVC. We'll march forward and see how things work."

Don Thompson, human resources director for the Sinclair Broadcast Group in Baltimore, said no layoffs are planned at this time from the merger of the Chattanooga operations. But over time, the stations could realize some economies by combining some staffs or facilities as has been done with other multi-station operations in many cities.

The purchase of the two Chattanooga TV station assets comes amid a growing consolidation within the broadcast industry. The Sinclair Broadcasting Group is already the nation's biggest TV broadcaster with 162 television stations in 79 markets.

On Tuesday, Media General, which owns 71 TV stations, announced it will combine with Meredith Corp., which owns WFLI-TV53 in Cleveland and 16 other television stations, under a new holding company called Meredith Media General. It'll be the No. 3 owner of TV affiliates in the United States behind Sinclair and Nexstar.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfree or 423-757-6340.