|Founded||Chattanooga, Tennessee (2008)|
|Founder||Henry Luken III|
|United States (Nationwide)|
|Henry Luken III (president and CEO)|
Digital broadcast television networks
|Owner||Henry Luken III|
Number of employees
Luken Communications, LLC is a privately owned American broadcast holding company, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which owns or operates around 80 television stations in the United States and six digital television multicast networks.
Luken Communications (LC) was formed in 2008 by Henry Luken III, formerly president and CEO of Equity Media Holdings. Luken Communications agreed to purchase six TV stations from Equity Media for $17.5 million and paid a $5 million installment with the rest pending on regulatory approval. In June 2008, Equity sold to Luken Retro Television Network for $18.5 million and $8.05 million Equity warrants for $1.5 million.
On January 4, 2009, a contract conflict between Equity and Luken Communications interrupted RTN programming on many of its affiliates with Luken alleging that Equity had left many obligations to RTN's creditors, including programming suppliers, unpaid. As a result, Luken restored a national feed of the network from its Chattanooga headquarters. As a result of this dispute, Luken pulled out of a deal to purchase Equity's stations in southwestern Florida.
In June 2009, Luken and Seals Entertainment Company LLC launched the male-oriented digital multicast channel Tuff TV. On March 22, 2011, Luken became part-owners of My Family TV in a joint venture with existing owner ValCom (the network later rebranded as The Family Channel after ValCom and Luken Communications ended their partnership). In June 2011, Luken Communications announced the purchase of 78 low-power translator stations from the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council for $390,000; the purchase was made in order to expand coverage of its ten existing and planned digital multicast networks with hopes to eventually acquire 400 low-power stations. In late summer 2011, Luken and Classic Media launched PBJ, featuring classic children's programs from the Classic Media library. With Frost Cutlery's shopping network and outdoor shows, Luken launched in 2011 the Frost Great Outdoors network.
On April 16, 2012, Luken Communications and Jim Owens Entertainment announced that the companies had teamed to relaunch The Nashville Network as a digital broadcast television network set for a late summer 2012 launch (TNN previously existed as a cable channel started by Gaylord Entertainment Company in 1983). The network was rebranded the next year as The Heartland Network.
On June 21st, 2013, an Arkansas jury awarded a $47.4 million verdict against Luken Communications for a claim of “fraudulent transfer” of the ownership of RTV six years prior. In order to appeal what was considered an “unjust verdict”, Luken Communications filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a protectionist measure. The appeal spanned more than a year but was ultimately successful, and in October 2014, the company announced it was emerging from bankruptcy protection and continued to grow and expand its network offerings. In December 2014, Luken Communications launched a new digital network, Rev'n, with a focus on automotive enthusiasts.
Assets owned by Luken Communications
Digital multicast networks
- The Family Channel
- Frost Great Outdoors
- Heartland, formerly the Nashville Network
- Jewelry Television
- Retro TV
- The Action Channel
Broadcast television stations
Notes: All stations are owned by Digital Networks, LLC. (a subsidiary of Luken Communications). Many of these stations were former Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) translators, unless specified.
- 1 Indicates stations were not previously owned by TBN
- 2 Indicates flagship station
- 3 Indicates station managed by Great Plains Television Network, LLC
- Marich, Robert (June 26, 2008). "Equity Media Sells RTN to Ease Crunch". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
- Jessell, Harry A. (1/5/2009). "Financial Dispute Disrupts RTN Diginet". tVNewsCheck. Retrieved February 18, 2015. Check date values in:
- "New TUFF TV Network Scheduled For Launch". April 29, 2009.
- Frank, Judy (March 22, 2011). "Chattanooga's Luken Communications Enters Joint Venture With ValCom Entertainment Company". Chattanoogan. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
- Jessell, Harry A. (June 16, 2011). "RTN Parent Buys 78 TV Translators". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
- "Luken, Classic Media To Debut New Network". TVNewsCheck. May 5, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
- Flessner, Dave (June 10, 2012). "Chattanooga businessman Henry Luken goes country". ChattanooganTimes Free Press. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
- Luken Communications files bankruptcy after Arkansas jury verdict against company, June 23, 2013
- "Luken announces plan to exit bankruptcy". timesfreepress.com. Retrieved 2016-06-09.
- "Jim Owens Entertainment ends licensing deal with Luken". Radio-TV Business Report. October 31, 2013.
- Marcucci, Carl (October 31, 2012). "Luken RTV affiliate losses not a big hit". Radio-TV Business Report. Streamline RBR, Inc. Retrieved February 18, 2015.