Low-power WKRP bought by WXIX-TV's parent company
Gray Television, owners of Cincinnati Fox affiliate WXIX-TV, is purchasing low-power WBQC-TV, branded as "WKRP TV" in Cincinnati.
Gray will pay $2.5 million for the station, if the deal is approved by the Federal Communications Commission, according to the Radio + Television Business Report.
The station was started by Cincinnati low-power TV pioneer Elliott Block on Sept. 29, 1990 on Channel 25 as W25AI. In 1995, when the station became a WB network affiliate, Block changed the call letters to WBQC-TV for "WB Queen City," or "Block Queen City Television."
After the WB and UPN merged into the CW Network, and Block moved into new Roselawn studios, he branded the station in 2008 as "WKRP TV" to capitalize on WKRP in Cincinnati, the beloved 1978-82 sitcom about an underdog Cincinnati radio station. He called it WKRP TV — without a hyphen — because he never owned the "WKRP-TV" call letters.
Block died in late 2019 at 71. The station has been in the Elliott B. Block WKQC Amended and Restated Trust, said the Radio + Television Business Report. Matthew Gray, the longtime employee who served as Block Broadcasting Co. president and trustee, approved the sale, according to the report.
Today, Channel 25 broadcasts a dozen digital subchannels: Decades, Cozi TV, Get TV, Movies!, Quest, Twist, The Grio, This TV, Start TV, Sonlife Broadcast Network religious programming, and two shopping services — JTV (Jewelry TV) and the Home Shopping Network.
When the deal closes, the 12 WBQC digital networks will be paired with WXIX-TV, which broadcasts the H&I (Heroes & Icons), Grit westerns and Circle networks on subchannels.
Gray Television could add Telemundo to Channel 25's lineup, says reporter Adam Jacobson for the Radio + Television Business Report.
"Given Gray Television’s investment and commitment to serving Spanish-speaking consumers, using WBQC in some way as a Telemundo affiliate for the Greater Cincinnati area could mark the latest growth opportunity in an emerging Hispanic market, with Gray in the driver’s seat in a landscape dominated by Spanish-language radio and some print media," he wrote.
The $2.5 million valuation "is reflective of not only its presence in a leading mid-size market, but the fact that WBQC is one of only two LPTVs (low-power TVs) in the Cincinnati DMA," Jacobson said.
Until 2018, Block operated two low-power stations, WBQC-TV and WOTH-TV (the Other Station) on channels 25 and 38. In the digital television "repack" in 2018, Block relinquished WOTH-TV and consolidated his low-power signals onto Channel 25.