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WPTA, WISE to get new owners

New ownership is on the way for a pair of local television stations.

Quincy Newspapers Inc. has an agreement to acquire WPTA – Fort Wayne’s ABC and CW affiliate – from Malara Broadcasting Corp. And SagamoreHill Broadcasting has an agreement to purchase WISE – the city’s NBC and MyTV affiliate – from Granite Broadcasting Corp.

The deals are contingent on federal regulatory approval but are expected to close this year.

If everything goes as anticipated, Quincy Newspapers of Quincy, Ill., also will manage WISE.

In March 2005, Granite Broadcasting entered a shared-services agreement with Malara Broadcasting for the operation of WPTA and WISE. Granite Broadcasting owned WISE and managed WPTA.

Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed.

“We feel we fit with the area,” said Ralph Oakley, president and CEO of Quincy. “We are in medium to small markets, and we’re looking forward to Fort Wayne. We’re thrilled at this opportunity.”

Besides the stations in the Summit City, Quincy is arranging to acquire Granite-owned stations in Peoria, Ill., Duluth, Minn., and Binghamton, N.Y.

It will operate additional stations in Peoria and Duluth under shared-services agreements.

If the acquisitions are approved, Quincy would own and/or operate 23 stations in 14 television markets, mostly in the Midwest.

The company already owns two radio stations and daily newspapers in Quincy and Newton, N.J., and a Fox affiliate in South Bend.

Oakley said it makes sense for his company to manage WISE for SagamoreHill.

“They’re in Augusta, Ga., and we’re familiar with the Midwest because we’re here,” he said. “We’re going to put our shoulder to the wheel.”

SagamoreHill has television stations in Columbus, Ga.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Montgomery, Ala.; and Rochester, Minn.

Besides Fort Wayne, SagamoreHill expects to acquire a station in the Duluth, Minn., area.

Oakley said the company would grow from 770 workers to 1,000 employees with the additional stations, but some positions could be eliminated where there is a duplication of duties.

pwyche@jg.net

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