By Darren Fishell
The Atlanta-based media company Gray Television Inc. has agreed to purchase Presque Isle CBS and Fox affiliate WAGM-TV, which it said has some of the highest rated newscasts and average ratings across all television stations in the country.
Publicly traded Gray (NYSE: GTN) announced the deal Thursday, saying it would pay current owner NEPSK Inc. $10.25 million cash for the station. The company expects the deal to close in the third quarter of 2015 after more than 30 years under ownership of NEPSK Inc.
Kevin Latek, Gray’s senior vice president of business affairs, said in a phone message Thursday that the company has no plans to change programming at the station.
“We are trying to buy the station because of exactly what they’re doing right now. Kelly (Landeen), the general manager, we expect will continue to run a tight ship and our job is to give them the resources to take the station to the next level,” Latek said.
Carole Kozloski, president and chief operating officer of NEPSK, said in a prepared statement the decision to sell the company was difficult.
“We have been part of this community for over 30 years, and many of our employees have been with us since the beginning,” said Kozloski. “Gray is a broadcast company with similar beliefs to ours, and we are confident they will follow in our footsteps, having the resources to better serve our employees and our local communities.”
Gray’s stock price was up 1.4 percent on the news at the close of the market Thursday.
In a prepared statement, Gray said WAGM was the second-highest local station in the country ranked by average all-day ratings across month-long periods in 2013, 2014 and 2015, when ratings agency Nielsen has households fill out daily diaries of their watching.
The station’s market area spans all of Aroostook County and also the western portion of the Canadian province of New Brunswick. Gray owns and operates stations in 44 markets, reaching approximately 8 percent of total U.S. households.