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$3 Million Buy For North Mississippi Station Could Keep Entire Market “All In The Family”

In CBS, Greenwood-Greenville, Layoffs, Mississippi on May 15, 2012 at 10:55 am

WXVT-TV

WXVT-TV, the CBS affiliate for the Greenwood-Greenville market in Mississippi, will soon have a new owner, according to federal filings and pending FCC approval. And that owner’s family would control every station in that market if approved.

Is that legal? Apparently it could be.

The documents were obtained by TV News Check May 8.

The records state H3 Communications will purchase the station from Saga Communications for $3 million.

Charles Harker’s three children control H3 Communications; Harker himself controls the Commonwealth Broadcasting Group, which owns WABG, WNBD and Delta FOX.

The Bolivar Commercial newspaper reports WXVT has been under Saga Communications’ ownership since 1999.

Sam Bush, chief financial officer for Saga, said the company is grateful to them for their service to the company and the region.

From the article:

“We feel that this agreement will be for the betterment of the station and the people of the Mississippi Delta region,” Bush said in the release. “This sale will provide the best service to the community.”

Station and general sales manager Larry Cazavan said H3 Communications of Century City, Calif., will have to wait until the FCC approves the deal.

“It is impossible to predict what decision the FCC will make about the sale, but we expect an answer by September,” Cazavan said. “Until then, I cannot comment further, but we will continue our operations as usual.”

That being said, one can only imagine this could mean future layoffs for the company.

The Mississippi Business Journal reports that is a serious possibility because of the way this sale works. Check out this excerpt among the purchase agreement that spawns 53 pages. From the article:

It says, in part, that the new owners are under no obligation to hire WXVT’s employees but can do so. The new owners must give a list of the employees they plan to keep to the current owners by June 1.

WXVT’s current owner, Saga Communications, owns or operates 9 television stations nationwide, four of which are low power.

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