Stations in Dayton Swap Network Affiliations

Jul 27, 2004  •  Post A Comment

A pair of television stations in Dayton, Ohio, are scheduled to swap affiliations at the end of August, with the current ABC affiliate becoming an NBC affiliate and vice versa.

The move comes after NBC in February decided not to renew affiliation agreements with two UHF stations owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, WKEF-TV in Dayton and WICS-TV/WICD-TV in Champaign/Springfield, Ill.

As part of the conversion, WKEF will become an ABC affiliate, while WDTN-TV, an ABC-affiliated station owned by LIN TV Corp., will become an NBC affiliate. The changeover takes place Aug. 30, after the Olympics.

There is no word yet on the fate of WICS/WICD, though Sinclair in an Securities and Exchange Commission filing in February indicated the company was in talks to convert that station to an ABC affiliate as well.

“This deal was done quite a while ago,” an NBC spokeswoman said. “We had a great opportunity to upgrade from a UHF to a VHF station with LIN Broadcasting, a partner with whom we have many positive long-term affiliations.”

The NBC spokeswoman’s comments were in response to a statement by Bill Ross, WKEF’s station manager, in which he expressed concerned about NBC’s losing “Friends” and “Frasier” and the retirement later this year of “NBC Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw.

“As the NBC affiliate, we were concerned going into the fall lineup about the prospect of having to compete against ABC with their growing popularity of ‘Good Morning America,” Mr. Ross said in a statement from Sinclair announcing the affiliate swap. “Our affiliation with ABC presents us with a more exciting program lineup.”