Springfield, MO

Log in Subscribe

Airwaves ...KSPR to get new owner

Posted online

by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

Springfield 33, KSPR-TV, will soon have a new owner. Gocom Communications, the station's Charlotte, N.C.-based owner is to be acquired by Grapevine Communications, a smaller communications company based in Atlanta, Ga.

The total consideration for Gocom is $185 million.

Gocom owns 10 television stations across the country while Grapevine owns seven which are mostly in the southern and midwestern portions of the country. Grapevine owns KODE in Joplin, which is an ABC affiliate like KSPR, and that relationship will be a unique one for the two stations.

"There is quite a bit of opportunity for sharing news coverage and for complementary promotion between those two stations," said Ric Gorman, chief executive officer of Gocom.

Gorman will be CEO of the merged company once the deal closes. It is subject to federal regulatory review, Gorman said. Wendell Reilly, who is chairman of Grapevine, will be chairman of the merged company.

Both Gary Whitaker, general manager of KSPR, and Dave Tillery, general manager of KODE, agreed the deal is good for their coverage.

"I think the viewers in Springfield could see a richer coverage in all of southwest Missouri because of this pairing," Whitaker said.

"We really have a number of common news interests. In sports, for example, we both cover the Chiefs and the Rams. This will be very positive for both stations," Tillery said.

Gocom has owned KSPR since 1997, and Grapevine has owned KODE since 1997, also. During those two years, Gocom has worked with KSPR's local team to improve its news products and enhance viewership, Whitaker said.

"The value of our advertising during the 10 o'clock news program has increased by 400 percent since Gocom has been our owner. Our news audience at that hour has increased by 150 percent. We've also worked very hard to develop a reputation as a good local news team. We've maintained a very strong focus on Springfield and local news," Whitaker said.

Gorman formed Gocom four years ago. The stations in the group carry various network affiliations, including Fox, CBS, ABC and NBC. Grapevine is a little younger than Gocom, having formed two years ago, and its stations carry Fox, ABC and NBC affiliations.

"This is a natural fit for the two groups. We have similar philosophies in that both Ric and I like to endow the stations with a great deal of local control and allow them to maintain a tight local focus. We take a very strong local approach," Reilly said.

[[In-content Ad]]


No comments on this story |
Please log in to add your comment
Editors' Pick
Open for Business: Rebar Kitchen & Taproom

A pair of food industry veterans teamed up to open Rebar Kitchen & Taproom; May 2 marked the grand opening for the new headquarters of 27North Inc.; and the first brick-and-mortar shop for Springfield Trading Co. launched.

Most Read
Update cookies preferences