NPG Bringing FOX TV Station to St. Joseph

ksanford

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – News-Press & Gazette Co. today announced it is sharply increasing its stake in local television, including launching a new FOX TV station in St. Joseph as the centerpiece of several significant steps to extend the company’s services in the city and the surrounding region.

The company also will be adding Spanish-language Telemundo and the entertainment network The CW to its lineup of locally owned and managed stations. The moves follow an announcement two weeks ago that the company is reacquiring News-Press 3 NOW, the local weather and news service.

The over-the-air license acquired by NPG allows the company to broadcast signals for all three network stations – FOX, Telemundo and The CW – to digital antennas within about a 30-mile radius of the tower in St. Joseph. In addition, the company plans to offer the stations to cable television providers in the region.

The new services are expected to go on air in late spring. Information about broadcast channel designations and the availability of the stations on area cable systems will be announced at that time.

FOX is the leading broadcast television network among teens, adults ages 18-34 and the broader category of adults ages 18-49. Its mix of primetime programming, major sports and late-night entertainment includes such mega-franchises as NFL Football, “American Idol,” “The Simpsons” and “Glee.”

NPG plans to add to these offerings by investing heavily in local news. It expects to offer more than two hours of news daily.

“For the first time, viewers in the city and in the nearby region will be able receive a FOX-affiliated station with truly local news programming,” said Eric Bradley, newly appointed general manager for the local broadcast properties.

“Northwest Missouri and Northeast Kansas have proven to be exceptional markets for what we can provide – news, information and entertainment programming developed with attention to the specific needs and interests of local people and businesses. We couldn’t be more pleased than to be able to announce these long-term investments and the new services we will be able to provide for both viewers and advertisers in this region.”

Bradley said the FOX station will share resources with News-Press 3 NOW, which the company founded, sold in April 2011 and recently agreed to reacquire from Suddenlink Communications.

Both stations will work out of studios in the News-Press newsroom in Downtown St. Joseph. The staffs will be closely integrated with the news operations of the News-Press, and several additional staff members will be recruited for news, sales and production positions.

The overall project will require a physical change to the newspaper’s property. An array of satellite receiving dishes will be positioned on the northwest edge of the News-Press parking lot. Plans call for construction of a brick-walled enclosure that will incorporate architectural features consistent with the newspaper’s historic building.

No new antenna tower is required for the broadcast operations. Instead, antennas will be mounted to an existing tower located southeast of Downtown St. Joseph.

“No project of this magnitude is possible without great effort and support from the many parties involved,” Bradley said. “In particular, the company would like to thank our business partners, city staff and many of our own employees who have given countless hours to resolving technical issues and clearing other hurdles on the path to announcing this major local investment.”

While well-known locally for its publishing ventures and its past ownership of St. Joseph Cablevision, News-Press & Gazette Co. actually has long experience as owner and operator of broadcast television stations.

The company’s current broadcast operations include approximately 30 network-affiliated stations in seven markets in the Western United States, including Colorado Springs-Pueblo and Grand Junction-Montrose, Colo.; El Paso, Texas; Palm Springs, Calif.; Bend, Ore.; Idaho Falls-Pocatello, Idaho; and Yuma-El Centro, Ariz.

Eric Bradley most recently was general manager of the company’s stations in Bend, Ore.

Contact: Eric Bradley, (816) 271-8505 or ebradley@npgco.com