Local television stations KIEM (Channel 3) and KVIQ (Channel 14) — both owned by Cox Media Group — are being sold to Imagicomm Communications, an affiliate of “general entertainment cable network” INSP, under an agreement announced by the companies March 30, which describes the transaction as furthering “the strategic evolution of CMG’s broadcast station portfolio and marks INSP’s expansion into broadcast television.”
The transaction, details of which were not disclosed, includes 11 other markets across the country and is expected to close “in the second half of 2022,” the announcement states.
INSP, which describes itself as “home to timeless and original western TV series, movies and documentaries” that provides “a trusted viewing experience and family friendly TV,” is owned by Inspirational Ministries, which describes itself as “Christian Ministry & TV Network that broadcasts the message of Jesus Christ around the world through its media outlets,” which rose out the ashes of the PTL network.
North Coast Congressmember Jared Huffman issued a tweet today saying he is urging the Federal Communication Commission to reject the sale.
“The corporation that took over the PTL empire from televangelist grifters Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker wants to buy our local TV stations in Eureka,” he wrote. “Media consolidation is bad for democracy & communities.”
KIEM is an NBC affiliate and the home of Redwood News while its sister network KVIQ is a CBS affiliate.
“These are important local journalism and community service brands powered by incredible media professionals and journalists who work tirelessly to inform, entertain, and elevate the communities they serve,” Dan York, CMG’s president and CEO, said in the announcement. “We are pleased to advance the strategic evolution of our portfolio, are proud of our team members at these stations, and are confident they will continue to excel in their important work as part of the Imagicomm / INSP family.”
Other markets in the deal include stations KMVU and KFBI-LD in Medford, Oregon, Spokane, Washington station KAYU, Yakima, Washington stations KCYU-LD and KFFX and KPVI in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
According to Axios, the deal is part of a larger shift among religious-based networks away from a reliance on the faith-based content that has been their bread and butter to draw a broader viewership.
“We are excited to be entering the broadcast television market with this strong collection of brands that are integral to informing and entertaining the communities they serve,” David Cerullo, chairman & CEO of INSP, said in the announcement. “We look forward to working with the stations’ talented staff and building upon their rich legacy of journalism and serving their communities, advertisers, and audiences. This acquisition is part of our broad corporate strategy to expand our media ownership across multiple entertainment platforms.”