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Clear Channel makes a sale

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A private investment firm recently bought a pair of local television stations.

KCOY CBS 12 and KKFX Fox 11, both stationed in Santa Maria, were among the 56 television stations sold by Clear Channel Communications, Inc. to Providence Equity Partners, Inc. on April 20.

The overall deal, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals, is worth approximately $1.2 billion and includes rights to the stations' associated web sites and wireless projects, according to a press release.

The transaction is projected to close in the fourth quarter of 2007. The buyout wasn't a surprise Clear Channel disclosed plans to divest its TV stations in November of 2006.

Andrew Cole, a public relations officer for Providence, said there's no plan to close stations. He insisted that the company's strategy was to "acquire TV stations, [and] improve their operations while building value."

The move underscores a trend of media corporatization, in which outlets are sold not just to large journalistic entities, but firms outside of the media realm.

"Certainly print has really been governed by Wall Street, and I imagine Clear Channel, to an extent, is the same way. That is becoming more and more the trend," said Cal Poly Journalism Department Chair George Ramos. "Gone are the days when a local station could do 24 hours of local programming. Everything now is automated."

Representatives from KCOY and KKFX Television declined to comment on the issue, as did a Clear Channel spokesman.

Clear Channel, which operates more than 1,100 radio stations nationwide, previously announced that it was attempting to rid itself of 448 radio stations. According to a press release, the company has entered definitive agreements to sell 161 radio stations to undisclosed buyers for $331 million. They expect the transactions to close during the second half of the year.

 

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