Former Cox Media Group executive buying WJAX TV-47
“Nothing changes” at the station, new owner says.
| 5:33 a.m. April 5, 2018
CBS affiliate WJAX TV-47 is changing hands again, but it won’t have an impact on operations of the station.
A company run by former Cox Media Group President Bill Hoffman filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission to buy WJAX from Bayshore Television LLC for about $12.3 million.
Atlanta-based Cox has been operating WJAX and sister station WFOX TV-30 together for five years.
Cox owns the Fox network affiliate and operates WJAX under a shared services agreement with Bayshore, a North Carolina-based partnership.
The FCC applications include contracts to transfer Bayshore’s services agreement to Hoffman’s company.
“It will be the same arrangement as Bayshore had before,” Hoffman said by email.
“Nothing changes in the way of station operation except for the ownership,” said Hoffman, who retired from Cox at the end of 2016.
The application shows Hoffman agreed to pay $100,000 in cash to Bayshore and assume $12.17 million in debt to buy WJAX.
WJAX and WFOX have been operated together since 1996 and came under common ownership in 2000 when Clear Channel Communications Inc., owner of the Fox station, bought WJAX.
Clear Channel sold its group of television stations in 2008 to Newport Television LLC, but the FCC ordered Newport to divest one of the Jacksonville stations because of regulations that prevented one company from buying two stations ranked in the top four of a particular market.
When Clear Channel bought WJAX, it was a lower-ranked UPN network affiliate with call letters WTEV.
Newport sold WJAX to a partnership called High Plains Broadcasting but continued to operate the two stations under a joint services agreement.
Cox bought WFOX from Newport in 2012 but was not allowed to buy WJAX because of the FCC rules. So Bayshore bought WJAX from High Plains, and Cox took over joint operations of the stations.
Jacksonville’s four other local commercial television stations are owned and operated by two companies.
Tegna Inc.’s predecessor, Gannett Co. Inc., owned NBC affiliate WTLV TV-12 and was allowed to buy ABC affiliate WJXX TV-25 in 1999 because WJXX was ranked fifth in the market at the time.
Graham Holdings Co., owner of independent station WJXT TV-4, was allowed to buy CW network affiliate WCWJ TV-17 last year because WCWJ was ranked sixth when Graham filed its FCC application.