Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Mini Bites

Time to play catch-up on the big stories at hand, and some other errata...

  • Lou Abitabilo's jump to WBRE/WYOU had nothing to do with the then-impending sale of WNEP. The former station manager on Montage Mountain Road had praise for his former employer, and said the GM job at Nexstar's duopoly was "a promotion for me." Several tipsters have called Abitabilo an honest and fair guy as well.

  • WNEP's pending owner has pretty deep pockets, and connections to even-deeper pockets. A quick check on the Internet for Oak Hill Capital Partners shows the private equity firm, which was founded by a Texas oil billionaire, has more than $4 billion in investments. Also, its investors include Bill Gates, who clearly has a lot of money to burn.

  • A new book by television critic Marvin Kitman chronicles the rise of Fox News pundit (and former WNEP reporter) Bill O'Reilly. The unauthorized biography follows " his beginnings in Long Island through years of aggressive reporting and management faceoffs" and then some. Perhaps the book also includes a look at his stint in our area?

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Oak Hill may have deep pockets, but they're still just an investment firm, not actual broadcasters. History has proven that spells trouble.

    7:30 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    From what I've read, these investment groups can be more patient on growth and profits than some other owners. WNEP spends money to make money. Let's hope whoever runs the station for Oak Hill believes in that philosophy.

    Anyone want to speculate whether the current GM and other managers keep their jobs under Oak Hill?

    1:26 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Let me offer a parallel from a business I understand moderately well.

    There's an operation called Carnival Corporation, which is in the cruise ship business. Over the years, it has progressed from owning Carnival Cruise Lines to adding Holland America Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Seabourne, Princess, P&O and five others I can't remember, not all in the USA.

    Mickey Arison, the head of Carnival Corp., figures that each line knows its market niche best. He can provide the financing for new ships, economy of food and fuel purchases across the lines, etc. Otherwise, it's hands-off. Each brand has its own corporate structure and retains its own market identity. Cunard is not Carnival; Holland America is not Princess.

    Oak Hill has someone who specializes in broadcasting. With any luck at all, that person thinks like Mickey Arison. Each Oak Hill "brand" will run itself, with slight touches from management and the economy of scale. As long as each cruise line, each broadcast property, sends in its monthly check to hq, all is fine.

    1:57 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    If they truly are interested in the bottom line, seems to me that they will leave it alone because it is successful in this market. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If I invest in a successful company, the last thing I want to do is "improve" it because I'm not the expert. Good money managers let the successful managers of purchased companies do their thing and stay successful, making changes only when the money stops coming in. With current competition, the money should be a given. I don't foresee major changes, unless these are foolish investors. JMO, but I think I'm right.

    9:28 PM  

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