By Alan Pergament
It is official.
The E.W. Scripps Company announced this morning that it has agreed to buy Channel 7 and WMYD in Detroit for $110 million in cash.
The Buffalo News reported Saturday that the deal was expected to be announced today.
The deal with Granite Broadcasting, which is controlled by a hedge fund, faces FCC approval, which typically takes three to four months.
Channel 7 General Manager Mike Nurse said Scripps officials plan to come in to talk to the staff on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"They are extremely excited to be purchasing this station," said Nurse. "The Buffalo market fits perfectly with their strategy of targeting turnaround markets, especially along the Great Lakes."
Before this deal was announced, Scripps owned 19 TV stations, including one in Cleveland.
One of the first orders of business will be the decision whether to keep Nurse, who had been the station manager for 12 years before becoming general manager less than a year ago. Scripps could value his understanding of the Buffalo market, which is something that takes time when new management comes in.
"I don't anticipate many changes," said Nurse of the immediate future of the station that is deep in third place in local news. "We've had very good dialogue and I look forward to working with them."
Channel 7 staffers are expected to be excited about being owned by a broadcast company after years in which a hedge fund controlled Granite Broadcasting, the station's present owner.
After reading the News report Saturday that the deal was imminent, two staffers who declined to be identified thought it would be good news.
"Scripps is one of the top broadcast companies in the country," said one staffer.
"If it is true, hallelujah," said another staffer.
There probably is a lot more of that talk going on inside 7 Broadcast Plaza today.