Jackson duopoly on the block


REVISION to the story below: Lee Shubert will be the trustee for WUFX-TV Vicksburg MS and two LPTVs, but he is not involved in the associated Jackson MS station, WDBD-TV. That station and an LPTV will go under the care and feeding of Daniel J. Duman. According to Shubert, the dual trusts were created to avoid cross-ownership issues moving forward.

Fox WDBD-TV and MNT WUFX-TV, both serving the Jackson MS DMA, are going into a trust headed by Lee Shubert to work through debt problems while searching for a buyer. The stations are being transferred by license companies headed by James W. Wood, into subsidiaries of Shubert’s CS Mississippi Trust, on behalf of CapitalSource. The stations are said to be “in financial distress and unable to obtain the additional capital necessary to sustain broadcast operations and meet … obligations under the Credit Agreement.” This move is being made to keep the stations out of bankruptcy, keep them on the air, maintain their value and provide for their temporary care and feeding until a qualified third-party buyer is found. Three low power stations associated with the pair are also part of the transfer.

RBR/TVBR observation: And the ugliness continues. At some point, valuable property displaying a pricetag with multiple mark-downs evident is going to run head-on into a company with capital to spend and trust in the long-term viability of the broadcasting model – which still works just fine, thank you very much, when not bogged down by debt service. Then there will be a welcome flood of dealing – even if it will be taking place in the bargain basement.