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MailTribune.com
  • Medford station KDRV sold to Atlanta firm in $30 million deal

    No changes planned for ABC affiliate, company CEO says
  • Medford television station KDRV, Channel 12, is being acquired by an Atlanta-based media company and a private equity firm as part of a three-station, $30 million deal.
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  • Medford television station KDRV, Channel 12, is being acquired by an Atlanta-based media company and a private equity firm as part of a three-station, $30 million deal.
    Heartland Media LLC and MSouth Equity Partners are buying KDRV, along with two other ABC affiliates — KEZI in Eugene and KDKF in Klamath Falls — from Chambers Communications Corp. of Eugene.
    Heartland Media bought its first television station — WKTV, an NBC affiliate in Utica, N.Y. — for $16 million last October. The three Oregon stations will be the company's next purchases.
    "We are excited about the opportunity to continue the excellent television services that have long been provided by the Chambers family in these markets," said Bob Prather, president and CEO of Heartland, in a statement released Wednesday.
    Prather told the Eugene Register-Guard that no changes are planned for the stations.
    He told the paper that Heartland and MSouth, a private equity firm also based in Atlanta, are paying $30 million cash for the stations. He declined to break down the ownership stake each partner will hold after the purchase.
    Prather started Heartland last year after resigning in June as president and chief executive officer of Gray Television, with whom he built a 41-station group. Prather owns 51 percent of Heartland and controls all of its voting stock, according to a filing with the Federal Communications Commission.
    MSouth Equity Partners has a $700 million portfolio, according to its website, with stakes in companies ranging from banks to a billboard business.
    KDRV, located off Biddle Road near the Medford airport, began broadcasting 30 years ago, on Feb. 26, 1984. In the spring of 1985, it launched its local newscast and has been a ratings leader much of the time.
    Chambers Communications, KDRV's third owner, acquired the station from Love Broadcasting in 1994. Love bought the station from its original ownership group in 1987.
    "We believe Heartland sees the value in our broadcasting strategy and our excellent employees," said Scott Chambers, CEO of Chambers Communications. "Heartland is particularly well suited to build on the strengths that these stations have had in the local community for the past several decades."
    KDRV had about 70 employees when it turned 25 in 2009, but has scaled back significantly in recent years as some operations were centralized and moved to Eugene.
    The transaction is subject to FCC approval, expected to be finalized in early to mid-summer of 2014. Chambers will continue daily operation of the stations until that time.
    Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness, friend him on Facebook and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/Economic Edge.
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