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Fox in Maine market

Dec 2, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Fox Broadcasting will have an affiliate in the Portland-Auburn-Waterville, Maine, market for the first time since October 2001 when Toledo, Ohio-based Corporate Media Group acquires WPMX-TV from Paxson Communications in the first quarter of 2003.
Max Media of Virginia Beach, Va., will manage and operate the full-power station for CMG, which is drawing up plans for a new studio and new engineering, sales and promotion offices in Portland. Also likely: new call letters.
Since Pegasus Communications-owned WPXT-TV switched its affiliation from Fox to The WB, Fox Broadcasting programming has been delivered to the market via the FoxNet cable programming service. The market is the 80th largest in the country, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Buyback programs renewed
“Returning over-the-air distribution of Fox entertainment and sports programming to the Portland area has been a high priority for Fox,” said Fox Network Distribution President Robert Quicksilver. “We are pleased that we have been able to join with a minority-owned broadcaster like CMG and its partner Max Media to ensure that viewers in the South Coast region will have full access to Fox programming.”
CMG CEO Charles Glover said his company owns a station that carries Pax programming in St. Croix, V.I., and described the acquisition of WPMX as part of “a journey” that will boost minority ownership of TV stations.
Meanwhile, Fox and the Sinclair Broadcast Group recently renewed affiliation agreements and inventory buyback programs through June 30, 2005, for the 20 Fox affiliates that are owned by Sinclair or operated by Sinclair under local marketing agreements with Cunningham Broadcasting Corp. The deal means that Sinclair-owned WBFF-TV in Baltimore will continue to be the Fox affiliate in the market, where Fox-owned WUTB-TV is the UPN affiliate.
The buyback agreement guarantees the Sinclair Fox group will continue to get 15 prime-time 30-second commercial spots per week, over and above the 90 prime-time spots allotted to all Fox-affiliated stations, to sell locally.
Sinclair President and CEO David Smith said, “The importance of maintaining alliances with networks such as Fox that are focused on reaching the younger demographic was a major factor in our decision to enter into these transactions.
“We have now secured our platform from which we can launch our recently announced local news strategy,” said Mr. Smith, whose group owns or operates 62 TV stations in 39 markets that represent some 24 percent of the U.S. TV universe.
“They are our largest group, and we’re pleased they are going to stay with us,” Mr. Quicksilver said, adding that “substantially all” of the station groups in which Fox has affiliates have agreed to continue the buyback deal.
Although Mr. Quicksilver said the deals vary somewhat from group to group, the majority are for at least three years.