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Jax Daily Record Friday, May. 27, 201612:00 PM EST

Channel 4 owner buying TV-17

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by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

Graham Media Group, owner of independent station WJXT TV-4, is buying a second Jacksonville television station, CW network affiliate WCWJ TV-17.

Graham said Friday it is buying WCWJ and an NBC affiliate in Roanoke, Va., from Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc. for $60 million.

Nexstar said it is selling those two stations plus three others in separate deals to satisfy regulatory requirements as part of its proposed acquisition of Media General Inc., which was announced in January.

Nexstar actually acquired WCWJ from Media General in 2009. Once it acquires all of Media General and completes other pending deals, Nexstar will own 171 television stations around the country.

Graham owns four other stations, in addition to WJXT. Its parent company, Graham Holdings Co., was formerly known as The Washington Post Co. but changed its name after selling off its newspaper business in 2013.

WJXT was a longtime CBS affiliate but the company dropped the station’s network affiliation in 2002.

WCWJ, which celebrated its 50th birthday this year, has been affiliated with several networks over the years. It became a CW station in 2009 when the WB and UPN networks merged to form CW.

Graham spokeswoman Pinkie Mayfield said Friday that it is too early to say if the company will bring any changes to WCWJ, including the possibility of having news shows. WCWJ stopped its local news broadcasts in 1996 when it lost its ABC network affiliation.

“This is just a great opportunity for us to pick up the CW affiliate,” Mayfield said. “We really respect the work being done there.”

Nexstar said the sale of the two stations to Graham is contingent on it closing on the Media General deal. It expects that to happen later this year.

Once Nexstar does acquire WCWJ, it will put Jacksonville’s six major commercial television stations in the hands of three companies.

Tegna Inc. (formerly Gannett Co. Inc.) owns NBC affiliate WTLV TV-12 and ABC affiliate WJXX TV-25.

Cox Media Group owns Fox affiliate WAWS TV-30 and operates CBS affiliate WJAX TV-47 under a local marketing agreement.

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