Thursday, January 04, 2007

Newsflash: WNEP, other NYT stations sold

It's official: WNEP has a new owner. An equity group known as Oak Hill Capital Partners will pay $575 million for WNEP and eight other stations owned by the New York Times Broadcast Group.

This is going to get really interesting...

39 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oak Hill Capital Partners! Doesn't exactly spew journalistic history and prestige, does it? Sure not the same as saying you're owned by The New York Times.

Oak Hill's website claims investments in media. Anyone know about other stations it owns?

Let's hope for the best for everyone who works at WNEP.

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This wouldn't be the same Oak Hill that owned the Drive-In in Forty Fort years ago, would it? "The Cool Cool Oak Hill presents Naked News!"

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Oak Hill was in Moosic.

It was also known as the Stroke Hill.

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The NEP'ers deserve better, I suspect. Let's hope these aren't the deep-pockets type with no soul for news. NEP proves that you can be exceptional broadcasters and profiteers. It would be a terrible loss for this region if the TV franchise that makes us a national model becomes over time anemic and uninspired.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little research found Oak Hill operates a couple of cable tv businesses, so buying a group of tv stations is a big jump.

These equity operations have deep enough pockets to handle what other owners might see as frills; a helicopter, satellite truck and the largest news staff in the market. Will Oak Hill let WNEP continue that kind of spending or insist on higher profits by cutting expenses?

This company has no broadcast or news background. I'm not saying that's bad, it just makes the future for WNEP unpredictable.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Oak Hill sees what little competition there exists here, you don't need to be Mensa material to figure the first question they'll ask is, "We're spending what to make how much?" The numbers won't work, it'll be easy to slash big and still make boxcars full of money.

A wizened news director in this market was fond of noting that it costs a lot of money to be #1, when you can be #2 for less and still make big money. WNEP will forever be #1, if only because Nexstar is incapable of pulling even with them.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little remedial reality.

When the NYT purchased 16 from the Shelburne family there was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth over what these horrible carpet-bagging "outsiders" were going to do to WNEP.

20+ years later the Times turns out to have been a pretty good owner.

It won't take that long to get a read on this "Oak Hill" outfit, but it's too early to write NEP's obit. Let's wait and see.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does this mean all the "Nexstar Will Buy 'NEP" posters had their heads up their asses?

Golly gee whiz, and all along I've been taking everything written here as informed opinion.

Opinion, always. Informed, seldom.

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sook owns 49 goddamned television stations, he could, Nexstar could, find a way to buy WNEP. And I'd take a piece of the action that this is exactly what he is up to right now..."

POSTED LAST MONTH


What piece of "You're a goddamned idiot" don't you understand?

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The original Oak Hill (even pre-X days) had better content than what the new Oak Hill is getting into

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the TV franchise that makes us a national model

For What? How to become lazy and not care anymore because you have no competition in your market?

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, 6:48...

Ask your doctor about Xanax. You'd benefit greatly from an "as needed" dose. While you're in an asking mood, ask who the partners are in Oak Hill Capital Partners. Be prepared to hear things you really do not want to hear.

11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"While you're in an asking mood, ask who the partners are in Oak Hill Capital Partners. Be prepared to hear things you really do not want to hear."

11:29 PM


Ah, a voice is heard from the grassy knoll. Perry Sook is behind Oak Hill, I take it?

You were wrong before: I guess it would be too much to expect you to admit it, but why keep repeating the error? Perry Sook won't own WNEP.

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a business organization taking NEP, the Times was a news organization. The cost cutting will be fast and furious and ad rates will go up. They are spending a lot of money to get the whole package and they will want to make it back as soon as possible. An investment entity doesn't purchase a news entity for journalistic purposes, they buy it to make money. And the best way to make money with NEP is to cut the "frills", anyone know the cost of operating skycam?, and increase revenue, NEP's ad rates have always been considered low for their ratings. I hope I am wrong, but this could be a sad day for our local news....

8:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya know what? Who gives a flying rat's derriere? They come in and change nothing, they come in and change everything, who cares? If Oak Hill comes in and lets it all go to shit they'll still be ahead of 22 and 28. It'll take more than deterioration of #1 to make the also-rans anything more than that and does anyone see Nexstar ready to spend a buck to improve their lot?

So if Oak Hill keeps everything and everyone or if they fire everyone and sell the chopper, who cares? Do you people think that except for the sycophant Talkback people we all sit around the dinner table all dewey-eyed over the possibility that Scott Schaefer might be out of work soon?

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nexstar likewise has taken a business-only approach to broadcasting, and we can all easily see the results. Is anyone from Nexstar involved with Oak Hill? I don't know, and would suggest no one here knows either.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a newsflash for you: every business is in it for the money. If the New York times cared about news, it would have kept the television stations. It's no different from Oak Hill.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous tom carten said...

11:29 said: While you're in an asking mood, ask who the partners are in Oak Hill Capital Partners. Be prepared to hear things you really do not want to hear.

Such as? I looked at the resume of each partner and major figure at Oak Hill. They are all major hitters and I would not want to say "no" to any of them. But I don't see any familiar names.

However, looking over the job descriptions, they are all people whose 9-5 work is to make money, lots of money.

oakhillcapital.com
Click on "Our Team"
Run

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WNEP is a great station, and the NYT talks a great game: you know, service, justice, journalism.

Truth is the paper kept WNEP in top form for only one reason, to make bundles of cash.

Can you name the one thing the Times did to advance what the Shelburnes had put in place? Got it? Right, the fancy building up on Montage Mountain. All other pieces and most of the people were already in place at the time of the sale, it was just a question of moving just enough forward to always keep 22 & 28 in the rearview mirror.

The Oak Hill folks can, if they want, bleed the place dry, short-term--ala Nexstar and Channel 50.

Or, they can take a lesson from the NYT and plow in enough seed money to keep revenues steadily growing.

Seems like a no-brainer to me (but then, I'm not Perry Sook).

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear WNEP Staff.
Get those tapes and resumes off in th email RIGHT AWAY.
Good luck

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

However, looking over the job descriptions, they are all people whose 9-5 work is to make money, lots of money.

Thank you, that was my point.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There were advancements at WNEP under NYT ownership.

To name some:
1. Benefits that only a large company can offer employees.
2. Promotional and broadcast relationships with the minor league baseball and hockey operations.
3. Adelphia 63 for 24-hour news (expanded and renamed now).
4. Fiber optic connection to Adelphia/Comcast cable.
5. Strong legal support and guidance for news.
6. Improved camera for helicopter to allow for steady pictures.
7. Digital Operating Center in Norfolk to be Master Control for all NYT stations.

The point is some very good things happened under NYT, and employees from the Shelburne family days have been responsible for most everything (yes, even that lousy D.O.C. idea).

As years went by, managers changed and the current WNEP GM is the first to have that job without any experience in a lower position at the station. She can't help it if she didn't grow up with WNEP, and some of the other bosses are in the same position. Some people, on this blog and elsewhere, think the station isn't what it once was. Maybe that's why.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't really hear much grumbling about WNEP from those claiming to work there, which is a pretty good indication of things. Perfect? Nah, but no doubt better than down the road.

Family/local ownership is just an entirely different ball game period, and it's all but unheard of nowadays. Talk with anyone from 50 who's been around awhile and they'll tell you they'd warmly welcome back the Baltimore and Megargee days in a second.

The biz, to state the obvious, ain't what it used to be, and it never will be again.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Adelphia 63 for 24-hour news (expanded and renamed now)."

4:32 PM


Here in Scranton Comcast has taken over from Adelphia, and channel 63 has been pulled from the lineup. Anyone know what's up with that?

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:34pm:

Comcast pulled Newswatch 16 Anytime from channel 63 and put in on digital channel 757. Comcast usually puts local station's extra channels up on a digital tier. For ex., on a Delaware Co. system, Comcast has the Philadelphia network affiliates digital and weather channels all together in one block way up in the 700s. So, that was one of the changes that occurred with the Adelphia/Comcast conversion.

12:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 4:32PM: You listed 7 major advancements under the NYT.

First--none of them are all that major. You might as well be listing things like "Improved Accounts Receivable paper flow."

Second--only #s 1 and 5 could have happened only under a Times regime.

Third--the Shelburnes were pioneers and visionaries: who knows where they'd have taken WNEP.

Having said all that, let me undercut my own argument. Hey--it is what it is. Oak Hill will be what IT is. And we won't know what THAT is until it gets here.

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 7:34am: 4:32pm never said
"major" advancements, that was your adjective.

Here's what I got from 4:32pm:
Good things happened at WNEP under the Shelburne family. Good things happened under NYT because staff and management from the Shelburne days were still there. Most the top people at WNEP now don't have that history.

Out of ignorance or by design, they don't seem as interested in local programming, aggressive and accurate news coverage and insisting employess in all departments do quality work.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Out of ignorance or by design, they [the top people at WNEP] don't seem as interested in local programming, aggressive and accurate news coverage and insisting employess in all departments do quality work."

3:28 PM


I'm the 7:34 a.m. poster, and you're right: WNEP has been trading on past glories for a long time. Name the last major "Newswatch" innovation, then name the year.

Takes a lot of head scratching to think of one, doesn't it?

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As discussed before, the single, Master Control Hub is far from a success. Outside of all the on-air problems, think of all the good folk who lost their jobs. And we give Nexstar a bad rap for job security !

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not in the business, but am curious as to why most of the posters here seem to have low regard for Scott Schaffer. Is he a scumbag or is he that good? Or is everyone just jealous he somehow managed to land Julie Sidoni?

8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone track the number of news stories aired by WNEP in a day? The same story broadcast five times counts as one. My sense is that they generate fewer stories now than a couple of years ago despite adding newscasts. Fact? Thoughts?

9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"To 7:34am: 4:32pm never said
'major' advancements, that was your adjective."

3:28 PM


I'm 3:15, 12:18, 2:52 and 7:44 Eastern Daylight Time.

Oh, hell, I'm the original poster who asked about advancements at 16. And you're right, "major" was my word. I just took it for granted no one would write in listing "minor" advancements. That was silly of me. Your posts made me realize there have been NO major advancements at WNEP.

You did the best you could.

Next challenge: pick the year WNEP peaked. What was the "high water mark," the point WNEP was at its best before things started slipping away? What year was "News Leader" still a fact, not just a slogan?

And don't talk about ratings dominance. You're up against WBRE and WYOU, for chrissake. When, why, and how did WNEP stop going for the gold?

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since all things are relative, WNEP hasn't really been trading on past glories, IMO. The last Newswatch innovation? I'd say beating the pants off of the other two outfits is an innovation in itself. And excluding a few very brief stretches in the mid to late 90s, they've been beating the pants off the competition(loosely used term)for 30 years.

Maybe in another market WNEP wouldn't be what it is here, but we're not in another market.

How about the innovative spirit that Nexstar has brought to town? Look at all the wonderful new things they've done. Where do you want to start? It's been one horrible decision after another after another...

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm not in the business, but am curious as to why most of the posters here seem to have low regard for Scott Schaffer. Is he a scumbag or is he that good? Or is everyone just jealous he somehow managed to land Julie Sidoni?"

8:49 PM


Howard, that's the phoniest post I've ever read. I'm a fairly regular reader here and can recall only a few posts (all in one thread) about Scott Schaffer in the last year.

This is obviously from someone trying to start trouble.

Why post now? Why post to this thread. Why pretend you don't work in the business?

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The last Newswatch innovation? I'd say beating the pants off of the other two outfits is an innovation in itself."

11:09 AM


You're right, that was an achievement 30 years ago. Since?

Let's face it, 16 beating 28 and 22 is like being a normal kid entered in the Special Olympics. Sure, you win, but it's hardly a praise-worthy triumph.

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here we are in second week of January and still no word on the November ratings? What's up with that????

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

***Here we are in second week of January and still no word on the November ratings? What's up with that????***

I am completely mystified by it, too. Given that WNEP people have typically had easy access to numbers, should we conclude that none of them visit this blog? The February book is about to begin, and not one word on November - that, I think, is really weird.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howard, that's the phoniest post I've ever read. I'm a fairly regular reader here and can recall only a few posts (all in one thread) about Scott Schaffer in the last year.

Very interesting observation, which in turn prompted me to think of all the reporters and anchors whose names have never once been mentioned on this blog. Is that a good thing, a bad thing, or no thing at all? My first impulse is to say that it's a bad thing, since not being mentioned means you're having little(maybe none)effect on local news viewers in this market.

Seems to me that we've traveled this trail before, but there are those who come, spend two-three years, and leave not so much as a footprint in this market.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howard, that's the phoniest post I've ever read. I'm a fairly regular reader here and can recall only a few posts (all in one thread) about Scott Schaffer in the last year.

Very interesting observation, which in turn prompted me to think of all the reporters and anchors whose names have never once been mentioned on this blog. Is that a good thing, a bad thing, or no thing at all? My first impulse is to say that it's a bad thing, since not being mentioned means you're having little(maybe zero)effect on local news viewers in this market.

Seems to me that we've traveled this trail before, but there are those who come, spend two-three years, and leave not so much as a footprint in this market. It's as if they were never here at all. That's kind of sad, don't you think?

11:39 AM  

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