The Liberty Corporation
|Traded as||NYSE: LC|
|Industry||Broadcast Television, Insurance|
|Fate||Acquired by Raycom Media|
|Headquarters||Greenville, South Carolina|
|United States (Nationwide)|
|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.
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
- (**) – Indicates that it was built and signed on by Liberty.
|City of license / Market||Station||Channel
|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.
- Archive of company history