The Liberty Corporation

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The Liberty Corporation
Public
Traded as NYSE: LC
Industry Broadcast Television, Insurance
Fate Acquired by Raycom Media
Successor Raycom Media
Founded 1919
Defunct 2006
Headquarters Greenville, South Carolina
Area served
Flag of the United States.svg United States (Nationwide)
Key people
Elliott Estes, A. H. Twitchell, W. Frank Hipp, Herman Hipp, W. Hayne Hipp
Products CableVantage, Take Ten Productions, Broadcasting Merchandising Corporation

The Liberty Corporation was a media corporation originally based out of Greenville, South Carolina. At its peak, The Liberty Corporation owned 15 network-affiliated television stations across the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. On top of that, cable advertising sales group CableVantage Inc., video production facility Take Ten Productions and broadcast equipment distributor Broadcast Merchandising Corporation were also some of its assets.

Liberty was founded in 1919 when W. Frank Hipp, a former top agent at Spartanburg-based Southeastern Life Insurance Company, stuck out on his own. Within a decade, Liberty had grown large enough to buy his former employer. It entered broadcasting in 1930, when it bought WIS in Columbia—the start of what would become the Broadcasting Company of the South, renamed Cosmos Broadcasting in 1965. Under Francis Hipp, who succeeded his father in 1943, Liberty reorganized as a holding company, The Liberty Corporation, in 1967.[1]

Liberty sold its insurance subsidiaries, Liberty Life and Pierce National Life, to Royal Bank of Canada in 2000. Cosmos was then folded directly into the Liberty banner.

After the sale of its insurance division, the company employed approximately 1,400 people. The executive officers included chairman and CEO W. Hayne Hipp (who, with his family, owned about 25% of the company before its sale to Raycom Media), president and COO James M. Keelor, CFO Howard L. Schrott.

In August 2005, Liberty agreed to be bought out by Raycom Media. Raycom paid $987 million, or $47.35 per Liberty share, and assumed Liberty's debts of approximately $110 million in the buyout. The acquisition was completed in February 2006. After closing the deal, Raycom sold a number of stations, including two from the Liberty portfolio. They included ABC affiliate WWAY-TV in Wilmington, North Carolina to Morris Multimedia and CBS affiliate KGBT-TV in Harlingen, Texas to Barrington Broadcasting.

Former Liberty Stations[edit]

  • (**) – Indicates that it was built and signed on by Liberty.
City of license / Market Station Channel
TV (RF)
Years Owned Current Ownership Status
Montgomery - Selma WSFA 12 (12) 1959-2006 NBC affiliate owned by Raycom Media
Jonesboro KAIT 8 (8) 1986-2006 ABC affiliate owned by Raycom Media
Albany WALB 10 (10) 1998-2006 NBC affiliate owned by Raycom Media
Evansville WFIE 14 (46) 1981-2006 NBC affiliate owned by Raycom Media
Louisville WAVE 3 (47) 1981-2006 NBC affiliate owned by Raycom Media
Lake Charles KPLC 7 (7) 1986-2006 NBC affiliate owned by Raycom Media
New Orleans WDSU 6 (43) 1972-1989 NBC affiliate owned by Hearst Television
Biloxi - Gulfport - Pascagoula WLOX 13 (28) 1995-2006 ABC affiliate owned by Raycom Media
Jackson WLBT 3 (28) 2000-2006 NBC affiliate owned by Raycom Media
Wilmington WWAY 3 (46) 1999-2006 ABC affiliate owned by Morris Multimedia
Toledo WTOL 11 (11) 1965-2006 CBS affiliate owned by Raycom Media
Columbia WIS ** 10 (10) 1953-2006 NBC affiliate owned by Raycom Media
Myrtle Beach - Florence WMBF-TV 32 (32) 1 NBC affiliate owned by Raycom Media
Harlingen - Weslaco -
Brownsville - McAllen, Texas
KGBT-TV 4 (31) 1998-2006 CBS affiliate owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group
Lubbock KCBD 11 (11) 2000-2006 NBC affiliate owned by Raycom Media
Tyler - Longview KLTV 7 (7) 2002-2006 ABC affiliate owned by Raycom Media
Lufkin - Nacogdoches KTRE
(Semi-satellite of KLTV)
9 (9) 2002-2006 ABC affiliate owned by Raycom Media
Green Bay WFRV-TV 5 (39) 1981-1984 CBS affiliate owned by Nexstar Broadcasting Group
Marquette - Escanaba - Iron Mountain WJMN-TV
(Semi-satellite of WFRV-TV)
3 (48) 1981-1984 CBS affiliate owned by Nexstar Broadcasting Group
  • 1 Raycom acquired WMBF's construction permit from Liberty, prior to the station's sign-on in 2008.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Archive of company history