What Were The Top LPTV Sales Of 2023?

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How active is the low-power broadcast TV transactions marketplace? In 2023, there were plenty of deals. Now, a fresh analysis based on FCC assignment and transfer data conducted by Volker Moerbitz has painted a clear portrait of just how many LPTV deals were valued at more than $1 million last year.


The answer is twenty-six.

Moerbitz took a closer look at the low-power television stations traded across last year, and when it comes to deal values, an $8 million transaction involving the group led by Paul Koplin tops them all.

Koplin’s Venture Technologies Group in September 2023 announced that it was selling WHTV-LD in New York and WCHU-LD in Oakwood Hills, Ill., a suburb of Chicago.

MBX Wyoming Inc. said it would pay $8 million for the two stations, in a deal brokered by Greg Guy of Patrick Communications.

What is “MBX Wyoming”? It is a licensee linked to Manoj Bhargava, the 5-Hour Energy founder who has been building an owned-station group for NewsNet, the 24/7 all-news diginet based in Michigan.

As RBR+TVBR readers know, Bhargava and NewsNet parent Bridge News LLC have been active buyers of LPTV stations in recent months. Moerbitz’s research confirms that Bhargava — through MBX Wyoming — was the dominant buyer of low-power TV stations. In fact, only one other transaction involving a LPTV property was valued at $1 million or more that didn’t involve Bhargava as a buyer. That transaction, announced in late May 2023, saw Nexstar Media Group acquire WSNN-LD in the Sarasota-Bradenton market from Citadel Communications for $1 million.

The No. 2 LPTV deal in 2023 saw MBX Wyoming in April agree to acquire seven low-power TV stations from Gary Cocola and his Cocola Broadcasting Companies:

Call Sign Facility ID File Number Service City, State
KJOU-LD 130272 0000213232 LPD BAKERSFIELD, CA
KSAO-LD 34578 0000213233 LPD SACRAMENTO, CA
KJEO-LD 20559 0000213234 LPD FRESNO, CA
KWSM-LD 31355 0000213235 LPD SANTA MARIA, CA
KKIC-LD 74409 0000213236 LPD BOISE, ID
KMBY-LD 168787 0000213237 LPD Monterey, CA
KKDJ-LD 41123 0000213238 LPD SANTA MARIA, CA

 

A $3.2 million purchase price was agreed upon by both parties. Tower lease agreements are included in the transaction.

By single-station valuation, the New York and Chicago LPTVs tie for No. 1. Right behind it is the MBX Wyoming acquisition of WVCC-LD in Westmoreland, N.H., from “Milachi Media,” led by Bill Christian. The deal, valued at $3.15 million, closed in October 2023.

Rounding out the LPTV deals in 2023 are, in order of total valuation, Bridge News LLC’s purchase of KSDX-LP in San Diego and KVPA-LD in Phoenix from Estrella Media for $3 million; Bridge News’ KUKC-LD in Kansas City and WUMN-LD in Minneapolis from Media Vista Group for $2.25 million; Bridge News’ purchase of KVVV-LD in Houston from the Philip Falcone-led Sovryn Holdings for $1.55 million; Bridge News’ acquisition of KUPU-LD in Waimanalo, Hawaii, from Hawaii Catholic TV for $1.5 million; and a pair of deals valued at $1.5 million that saw MBX acquire properties from Marquee Broadcasting and Image Video Teleproductions, respectively.

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