Allbritton Communications Company

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"Allbritton" redirects here. For the surname, see Allbritton (surname).
Allbritton Communications Company logo.jpg

The Allbritton Communications Company is an American media company that owns and operates several broadcast television stations and other media in the United States. Based in Arlington, Virginia, its broadcast stations have been affiliated with the Disney-owned ABC network since 1997. Allbritton also owns Politico,[1][2][3] a political journalism organization, and NewsChannel 8, a regional cable television network serving the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Allbritton is currently the leading subsidiary of Perpetual Corporation, a private holding company owned by the family of company founder and former Riggs Bank president Joe L. Allbritton.[4] Joe’s son, Robert L. Allbritton, has been the Chairman and CEO of Allbritton Communications since 2001.[5]

The company was formed in 1975 when Joe Allbritton bought the media interests of The Washington Star, including its television and radio stations. The Federal Communications Commission required him to sell off either the television or radio properties as a condition of the purchase, and Allbritton opted to sell the radio stations.

In May 2013, reports surfaced that Allbritton was planning to sell its television stations; the move came as a result of their declining revenue, and the increasing success of Politico, which "continues to carry no debt, funds all investment with operating income and will still turn a profit, again, in 2013."[6][7] On July 29, 2013, Sinclair Broadcast Group announced it would acquire all of Allbritton's stations for $985 million.[8] After nearly a year of delays, the deal was approved by the FCC on July 24, 2014.[9]

Television stations[edit]

Currently owned[edit]

Note: two boldface asterisks appearing following a station's call letters (**) indicate a station that was built and signed-on by The Washington Star Company (predecessor of Allbritton Communications).

City of license / Market Station Channel
TV (RF)
Years Owned Current Ownership Status
Birmingham, Alabama WBMA-LD 58 (40) 1994-2014 ABC affiliate to be owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group
Anniston, Alabama WJSU
(satellite of WBMA)
40 (9) 1996-2014 ABC affiliate to be owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group
(Callsign will then be surrendered to the FCC; programming will be moved to WABM)
Tuscaloosa, Alabama WCFT-TV
(satellite of WBMA)
33 (33) 1996-2014 ABC affiliate to be owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group
(Callsign will then be surrendered to the FCC; programming will be moved to WABM)
Little Rock, Arkansas KATV 7 (22) 1982-2014 ABC affiliate to be owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group
Washington, DC WJLA-TV** 7 (7) 1975-2014 ABC affiliate to be owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group
Tulsa, Oklahoma KTUL-TV 8 (10) 1982-2014 ABC affiliate to be owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania WHTM-TV 27 (10) 1996-2014 ABC affiliate to be owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group
(It will operate under a Hold Separate Agreement, while the sale to Media General is pending FCC approval.)
Charleston, South Carolina WCIV-TV** 4 (34) 1975-2014 ABC affiliate to be owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group
(Callsign will then be surrendered to the FCC; programming will be moved to WMMP)
Lynchburg - Roanoke, Virginia WSET-TV 13 (13) 1975-2014 ABC affiliate to be owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group

Cable Networks[edit]

  • NewsChannel 8 (Washington, DC) - A 24-hour local cable news station.

Formerly owned[edit]

Market Calls Channel Current Owner Notes
Jacksonville, Florida WJXX 25 Gannett was Independent until 1997, sold in 1999
Brunswick, Georgia WPXC-TV 21 ION Media Networks became ABC in 1996, sold in 2001

Newspapers[edit]

Allbritton launched Politico, a political news website and newspaper on January 23, 2007, the day of the 2007 State of the Union Address.

Allbritton launched Washington-area local news web site TBD in 2010. The site merged the web pages of the company's television stations, WJLA-TV (Channel 7) and its cable sibling, NewsChannel 8. Jim Brady, a former Washington Post editor, ran the site.[10][11] Allbritton shut down TBD in 2012.

Allbritton owned the Washington Evening Star (1975–1978).

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Heath, Thomas; Wilgoren, Debbi (2013-07-29). "Allbritton selling eight TV stations, including WJLA, to Sinclair for $985 million". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-04-10. 
  2. ^ Calderone, Michael (2013-05-01). "Politico Owner Considers Sale Of TV Stations". Huffington Post. 
  3. ^ Stelter, Brian; Kaufman, Leslie (2013-07-29). "Sinclair Group Is Buying 7 Allbritton TV Stations". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-10. 
  4. ^ O'Brien, Timothy L. (2004-05-09). "Corporate Art Lovers Who Hate That Big Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "Company Overview of Allbritton Communications Company". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 11/6/2013. 
  6. ^ Wemple, Erik. "Allbritton exploring sale of TV assets". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  7. ^ Farhi, Paul; Heath, Thomas (2013-05-02). "Allbritton to sell its TV holdings, including WJLA and NewsChannel 8". Washington Post. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "Sinclair Buying Allbritton Stations For $985M". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Eggerton, John (24 July 2014). "FCC Approves Sinclair/Allbritton Deal". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  10. ^ http://tbd.com/
  11. ^ Kurtz, Howard (2009-10-29). "Allbritton Communications will debut this spring a new web site on local news in D.C". The Washington Post. 

External links[edit]