Roberts Broadcasting

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Roberts Broadcasting Company is a media company based in St. Louis, Missouri. It is a subsidiary of the parent company, the Roberts Companies, one of the largest African American-owned conglomerates. It is co-owned by brothers Steven and Michael Roberts.

Roberts Broadcasting filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on October 7, 2011; the company cited the loss of the UPN affiliations for WRBU, WZRB, and WRBJ when that network shut down in favor of The CW in 2006, as much of UPN's programming consisted of minority-targeted programs that Roberts felt were compatible with their stations' target audiences (though the stations have since recovered from this setback; additionally, WAZE had instead affiliated with The WB prior to 2006, as it was owned by South Central Communications until February 2007). The company has also been hit with lawsuits from Warner Bros. Television, Twentieth Television, and CBS Television Distribution over fees for syndicated programming; Roberts eventually settled with Twentieth but lost the Warner Bros. and CBS cases.[1][2]

On March 24, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) canceled WAZE's license for failure to construct its digital facilities.[3] However, the station continued to broadcast via their analog translator station network of three stations.

On February 20, 2012, Roberts Broadcasting announced it was exploring the possibility of selling one or all four of its television stations in order to raise enough cash to pay off its creditors.[4] On October 22, 2012, Roberts announced that it had sold WRBJ to Trinity Broadcasting Network;[5] the deal was approved by a bankruptcy court on January 17, 2013,[6] and TBN officially took over operational control of WRBJ five months later, on May 24, 2013.[7] The CW would return to the Jackson area on WJTV-DT2 in September 2013.

On January 3, 2013, the repeater network of WAZE ceased operations, with WTVW hurriedly joining the CW at the end of the month to maintain the network in the Evansville area.[8] In April 2013, WRBU dropped Me-TV as a sub-channel; that network now airs in St. Louis on a KMOV sub-channel.

On December 2, 2013, Roberts filed to sell WZRB to Radiant Light Ministries, a subsidiary of Tri-State Christian Television, for $2 million.[9] On December 4, Roberts also filed to sell WRBU to TCT for $5.5 million.[10] However, on December 11, the United States bankruptcy court gave initial approval for a plan by Roberts' creditors to instead transfer WRBU, WZRB, and the WAZE repeaters to a trust with Ion Media Networks (a creditor in Roberts' chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings) as its beneficiary, with Roberts' attorney subsequently stating that Ion would purchase the stations for $7.75 million. [11][12] Roberts had earlier proposed an alternate plan that would have had only the WAZE repeaters be transferred to the trust, which would have allowed the sale of WRBU and WZRB to TCT. [11] The FCC approved the deal on February 2, 2014, and both WZRB and WRBU became Ion Television O&O afterwards. WZRB would keep carrying CW as second affiliate, but WKTC announced that they would become a CW affiliate on March 17.

Stations[edit]

Radio station[edit]

Market Station Owned Since Current Format
Brandon-Jackson, Mississippi WRBJ-FM-97.7 2007 Urban Contemporary

Former television stations[edit]

City of license / Market Station Channel
TV (RF)
Years owned Current ownership status
East St. Louis, Illinois/St. Louis, Missouri WRBU 46 (47) 1989–2014 Ion Television owned-and-operated (O&O)
Cookville/Nashville, Tennessee WNPX-TV 28 (36) 1997-1998 Ion Television owned-and-operated (O&O)
Magee - Jackson, Mississippi WRBJ 34 (34) 2006–2013 TBN owned-and-operated (O&O)
Columbia, South Carolina WZRB 47 (47) 2005–2014 Ion Television owned-and-operated (O&O)
Madisonville, Kentucky - Evansville, Indiana WAZE-TV 19 (20) 2006–2011 defunct, went dark in 2011
WAZE-LP
(former satellite of WAZE)
17 (analog only) 2006–2013 Dark station owned by Ion Media Networks
WJPS-LP
(former satellite of WAZE)
4 (analog only) 2006–2013 Defunct
WIKY-LP
(former satellite of WAZE)
5 (analog only) 2006–2013 Defunct

References[edit]

  1. ^ Malone, Michael (October 10, 2011). "Roberts Broadcasting Files For Bankruptcy". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved October 10, 2011. 
  2. ^ Newkirk, Jacob (October 10, 2011). "WAZE Owner Roberts Broadcasting files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy". Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved October 10, 2011. 
  3. ^ Harding, Kevin (March 24, 2011). "Re: WAZE-TV, Madisonville, Missouri". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved March 30, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Roberts Broadcasting Mulls Sale of TV Stations", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 20, 2012.
  5. ^ "Roberts brothers' TV station in new hands" from The Clarion-Ledger (October 22, 2012)
  6. ^ Brown, Lisa (January 18, 2013). "Roberts Cos.' Mississippi TV station sale approved". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  7. ^ http://www.tbn.org/announcements/new-tbn-full-power-station-sign-on
  8. ^ Jake's DTV Blog: "WAZE-TV translators shut down", January 3, 2013.
  9. ^ "APPLICATION FOR CONSENT TO ASSIGNMENT OF BROADCAST STATION CONSTRUCTION PERMIT OR LICENSE (WZRB)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. December 2, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  10. ^ "APPLICATION FOR CONSENT TO ASSIGNMENT OF BROADCAST STATION CONSTRUCTION PERMIT OR LICENSE (WRBU)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. December 4, 2013. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Mueller, Angela (December 11, 2013). "Judge approves creditors' proposal in Roberts Broadcasting bankruptcy". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved December 11, 2013. 
  12. ^ Brown, Lisa (December 11, 2013). "Roberts' TV stations to be sold". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved December 11, 2013. 

External links[edit]