GCI Buys Alaska Stations

Cable Operator Subsidiary To Acquire CBS Affiliates
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GCI, the Alaskan cable and telecom operator, is dipping its toes in the broadcast TV station game with the acquisition of three CBS affiliates in the state from Ketchikan TV.

Denali Media Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GCI, has agree to buy the three stations – KXLJ in Juneau, KTNL in Sitka and KUBD in Ketchikan – for an undisclosed sum. The purchase is subject to necessary federal regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.

Ketchikan TV, based in Evergreen, Colo., is also the owner and operator of Anchorage’s KDMD-TV and Telemundo Alaska, Alaska’s only Spanish language television station.

This is the second TV station purchase for Denali Media Holdings. In November, the holding company closed on the acquisitions of Anchorage CBS affiliate KTVA from Alaska Broadcasting; and NBC affiliates in Juneau (KATH) and Sitka (KSCT) from North Star Broadcasting for a total of $7.6 million.   Those deals were first announced in November 2012.

After the earlier deals were announced, GCI president and CEO Ron Duncan said the strategy behind the station purchases was to create a state-wide news network.

“We look at these purchases as the first step toward providing a new statewide platform for news and information, as well as providing unique content and value for GCI’s video subscribers,” Duncan said in a statement announcing the Alaska Broadband and North Star purchases.

GCI is the largest cable operator in Alaska, passing about 80% of the homes in the state. In addition, GCI is the largest provider of telephone, broadband and wireless service to Alaska residents.