Illinois firm buys Columbia TV station

Sunday, November 14, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:25 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 13, 2008

KRCG/TV 13 will soon be under new ownership. Barrington Broadcasting Company announced Friday it will buy the Columbia-Jefferson City CBS affiliate from Mel Wheeler Inc. The terms of the transaction, which is still subject to FCC approval, were not disclosed.

“We’re delighted to have KRCG in our portfolio,” said Barrington Broadcasting Senior Vice President Mary Flodin, adding that the small-to-medium-size market suits her company well.

Betsy Farris, vice president and general manager of KRCG, said that Mel Wheeler, which is based in Forth Worth, Texas, hadn’t been looking to sell the station, but Barrington contacted them earlier this year.

“I think they found us attractive due to the mass of viewers we attract and the operation we run,” she said. Although Barrington is a new company, she said their management includes several experienced broadcasters.

Farris said she doesn’t expect changes in the near future, as operations are running well and that was the reason for Barrington’s interest in the station.

“KRCG has been a valued member of the Mel Wheeler family since 1986,” Mel Wheeler Inc. President Leonard Wheeler said in a statement released to the news media.

“We are proud of our co-workers and friends at the station, and the many achievements they have accomplished. Barrington is a leader in managing medium-sized television stations, and we are excited to be handing the baton to them.”

Barrington, which was founded in 2003 and is based in Hoffman Estates, Ill., owns NBC affiliate WEYI 25 in Flint, Mich., ABC affiliate WHOI 19 in Peoria, Ill., and CBS affiliate KHQA 7 in Hannibal. The company is also developing a WB affiliate in Flint.

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