Hearst Corporation today announced it has completed its previously announced acquisitions of Birmingham, Ala., NBC affiliate WVTM-TV, Channel 13, from Media General, Inc. and Savannah, Ga., ABC affiliate WJCL-TV, from LIN Media LLC. The announcement was made by Steven R. Swartz, president and CEO, Hearst Corporation and Jordan Wertlieb, president, Hearst Television Inc. Terms were not disclosed. The transactions were subject to requisite regulatory approvals and the completion of the Media General/LIN Media merger.
Birmingham is the 44th largest television market and Savannah is the 92nd largest. The acquisition increases Hearst Television’s audience reach of U.S. TV households to nearly 19 percent, and the reach of its NBC-affiliated stations to nearly 8 percent, across 11 markets.
Hearst also announced new management for the stations. Henry “Hank” Price, a highly recognized broadcast industry veteran who has served since 2000 as president and general manager of Hearst’s WXII-TV, the NBC affiliate in the Greensboro/Winston-Salem, N.C., TV market, will move to WVTM in the same role. His successor at WXII-TV will be announced at a later date. Timothy J. (Tim) Morrissey, most recently president and general manager of WCNC-TV, the Gannett-owned NBC affiliate in Charlotte, N.C., will become president and general manager of WJCL; the move marks a return to Hearst for Morrissey, who in the mid-1980s served as news director at Hearst’s WISN-TV in Milwaukee.
“Television stations with strong news brands attract the largest audiences,” Wertlieb said. “A dedication to quality local programming and community service will be our focus as we grow our audience in the region. Hank and Tim exemplify that dedication.”
During Price’s tenure at WXII, the station has become the region’s leader in Web, mobile and multiplatform programming, as well as the Piedmont Triad’s highest rated television station, winning all major newscasts. Prior to joining Hearst, Price was vice president and general manager of WBBM-TV, the CBS-owned television station in Chicago and, before that, he was president and general manager of KARE-TV, the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis. Price is also senior director of Northwestern University’s Media Management Center where he concentrates on future news and business models. He has served on the boards of numerous community organizations in North Carolina, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Chicago.
In 2010, Price received the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters Distinguished Service Award for “Outstanding Contributions to Broadcasting.” He is co-author of Audience First, scheduled to be released by Sage Publishing in mid-2015.
The move to Birmingham marks a return to the region for Price. A native of Gulfport, Miss., Price worked his way through college at The University of Southern Mississippi where he is a member of the School of Mass Communications and Journalism Hall of Fame.
Before becoming president and general manager at WCNC in 2007, Morrissey was divisional vice president of The New York Times Company Broadcast Group, after having served as its corporate vice president of news. Previously, he was president and general manager at television stations in Oklahoma City (KFOR-TV) and Ft. Smith, Ark. (KFSM-TV) and served in news management roles at stations in Baltimore (WJZ-TV), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pa. (WNEP) and New Orleans (WWL-TV).
Morrissey has served as a member of the NBC network affiliate board, the NBC NewsChannel board, the ABC News advisory board and the FCC's Media Security and Reliability Council (MSRC). He currently serves on the board of directors for the United Way of Central Carolinas. He received his undergraduate education at Marquette University and is a Fellow of the Loyola University of the South Institute of Politics in New Orleans.
About Hearst Television
Hearst Television (hearsttelevision.com), a national multimedia company, owns and operates 31 local television stations and two local radio stations, serving 32 U.S. cities and reaching nearly 19 percent of U.S. television households. The TV stations broadcast 60 video channels, featuring local and national news, weather, information, sports and entertainment programming and local community service-oriented programs. The stations also host and operate digital online and mobile platforms that extend the company’s brands and content to local, national and international audiences. Hearst Television is recognized as one of the industry's premier companies and has been honored with numerous awards for distinguished journalism, industry innovation and community service. Hearst Television is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hearst Corporation.
About Hearst Corporation
Hearst Corporation (hearst.com) is one of the nation’s largest diversified media and information companies. Its major interests include ownership of 15 daily and 34 weekly newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and Albany Times Union; hundreds of magazines around the world, including Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, ELLE and O, The Oprah Magazine; 31 television stations, which reach a combined 18 percent of U.S. viewers; ownership in leading cable networks, including Lifetime, A&E, HISTORY and ESPN; significant holdings in automotive, electronic and medical/pharmaceutical business information companies; a 50 percent stake in global ratings agency Fitch Group; Internet and marketing services businesses; television production; newspaper features distribution; and real estate.