Graham Media Group Adds 2 Stations, WSLS-TV (NBC - Roanoke, VA) and WCWJ-TV (CW - Jacksonville, FL)

Graham Media Group is proud to announce the purchase of 2 television stations, marking the first acquisitions for the group since 1997.   

Emily Barr, President & CEO of Graham Media Group, officially welcomed WSLS-TV, the NBC affiliate in Roanoke, VA, and WCWJ-TV, the CW affiliate in Jacksonville, FL to the GMG family.

WSLS-TV serves the growing Roanoke market, currently 67th largest in the nation, and is run by VP & General Manager Garry Kelly.  WSLS-TV produces 31 hours of local news per week, and airs a daily hour of local programming, Daytime Blue Ridge, each weekday at 11am.

WCWJ-TV is one of the top CW affiliates, scoring some of the highest CW network ratings in the country.  WCWJ-TV produces several local programs in addition to it's line-up of strong syndicated programming.  With the addition of a second station serving the Jacksonville market, Bob Ellis becomes the VP & General Manager of WJXT-TV and WCWJ-TV.

With 7 stations in the top 70 markets, Graham Media Group now reaches nearly 8 million households and nearly 7% of the entire U.S. television market, while industry leader Social News Desk supports over 1,500 newsrooms across 5 continents.

 

 

 

Graham Media Honored as Station Group of the Year by Broadcasting & Cable

Graham Media Group has been named the station group of the year for 2016 by Broadcasting & Cable, a leading television and digital industry publication.   Led by Chicago based President and CEO, Emily Barr, the group currently has five broadcast stations, in addition to ownership in digital and social media properties.   

Graham’s station portfolio includes NBC affiliates in Houston(KPRC) and Detroit(WDIV), a CBS affiliate in Orlando(WKMG), an ABC affiliate in San Antonio(KSAT), and an independent station in Jacksonville(WJXT).   Despite having only five stations, each is in a top 50 market, reaching at total of 6.4% of U.S. television households.   KSAT and WJXT consistently produce the most watched newscasts in their respective markets by significant margins.   KPRC and WDIV are both rated number No. 1 or No. 2 in target demographics while competing head to head with stations owned by the Big Four networks in each city.   WKMG in Orlando recently became the most watched station for the critical November rating period for late news.

“Our north star guiding us is the idea that you can’t ‘cookie-cut’ coverage,” says Barr.  “Detroit and Jacksonville are very different.  So are Houston and Orlando.  We run each station according the wants and needs of the viewers and digital consumers who live there.”

Part of the success of Graham Media is each station’s deep commitment to their local markets.   KPRC helped raise over $6 million in 2016 by partnering with local charities.   Viewers relied on WDIV during the Flint water crisis and WKMG after the Pulse nightclub shooting, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.   KSAT launched a program to help battle the growing opioid crisis.  WJXT was the station viewers relied on during Hurricane Matthew and was the most watched station on Election night.   While the election was arguably the biggest national story of the year, WJXT won the night with their fully local coverage.

“We’re aggressive, we’re competitive, and we believe in doing the right thing”, says KPRC Vice President and General Manager, Jerry Martin.  “Each station has a unique brand, but those are the common threads we all share.  We love celebrating our communities.”

Graham Media is also on the leading edge of the move toward digital and smart phone consumption.   The company owns Social News Desk, an Atlanta based creator of software that helps newsrooms around the world curate, post and track social media.   Graham Digital is a unit operating out of Detroit, tasked with staying ahead of the curve on emerging technology and meeting the growing demand of multi-platform content delivery.   The group also invested an ownership stake in StormPins, a crowd sourced weather app with plans to broaden its approach in 2017.    The five station’s websites averaged more than 11 million monthly unique users in 2016 and the numbers are growing.    Each station live streams every newscast and in the past year alone, mobile web use for the stations content grew by 20%, mobile app users were up by more than 100% and users of weather apps grew 75%.

While many station ownership groups are consolidating and centralizing production, Graham Media is doubling down on its commitment to their local markets.   Houston, Detroit, San Antonio and Jacksonville have all launched locally produced, daily lifestyle shows within the past year and a half.   KSAT recently built a new facility, and KPRC is currently constructing a state-of-the-art broadcast center set to open in the second quarter of 2017.    Graham is also finalizing purchases of WSLS in Roanoke, VA and WCWJ in Jacksonville, making the group well positioned for big things in 2017 and beyond.

GMG Stations Most Watched for Election Results

Graham Media Group, Inc. a Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC) subsidiary, reported today that it delivered top ratings on all platforms during election night coverage.

Graham Media Group owns five local television stations, each in a top-50 market, all were recognized as news leaders during the country’s historic election night. “Our connection to the communities we serve proved exceptionally strong on election night. Excellent coverage in all markets was part of the story, but the other part is the power and impact of local television news on the national front”, said Emily Barr, President and Chief Executive officer. 

KPRC–Houston (NBC) delivered a 5.9 rating and 12 share of persons 25-54 which is a 9% increase over its 2012 primetime election coverage, and up 34% from 2008.  The station also led the way with the local 5pm and 10pm newscasts surrounding the primetime coverage, which delivered a 2.3 rating and 9 share of persons 25-54 and a 5.4 and share 10 persons 25-54 respectively.

WDIV-Detroit (NBC) was the most watched television station in Detroit and was ranked #1 out of the top 25 LPM NBC affiliates with a 10.1 rating and 14 share of persons 25-54 from 8pm-11pm. The station’s website, ClickonDetriot.com received nearly 300,000 unique visitors. WDIV Local 4 Newscasts dominated the afternoon into the evening with wins at 4pm, 5-6:30pm and 11pm.

KSAT–San Antonio (ABC) was #1 in Prime Election Coverage with an 8.4 rating and 12 share of persons in households, and grew double-digits in key Election coverage day parts since the 2012 Presidential race. In addition, KSAT’s Presidential Candidate HQ livestreams were the #1 search result nationwide on Google.

WKMG–Orlando (CBS) was first in local news at noon among households and total viewers, including a 32% household ratings gain from Election Day 2012. The 4pm newscast was ranked #1 with women 25-54, and the 5pm newscast was first in its time period among adults 25-54 and women 25-54. WKMG had the most extensive coverage of a national election in the Orlando market with coverage from 4-6:30pm and an expanded 7-8pm newscast

WJXT–Jacksonville (Independent) kicked off continuous Election Day coverage at 7pm and stayed on air until 3:30am, covering Local, State and National races for viewers in Jacksonville.  Nielsen results show WJXT as the winner in the key 8pm to 11pm prime-time hours, with a 7.2 rating and 9.7 share in households. News4JAX at 6pm was the highest rated local newscast of the day in Jacksonville with a 7.5 rating and 12 share. Approximately 175,000 digital users viewed more than 1.3 million page-views on News4JAX.com and the station’s newsreader app.

 

 

'Straight Talk from the Candidates' Effort To Inform Voters

In an effort to inform voters and arm them with the tools they need to make their choices at the polls, KPRC2 invited candidates in major political races to address viewers in a special hour-long public service program, “Straight Talk from the Candidates.” The program was presented commercial-free on Friday, October 21st at 7 p.m. and was produced without commentary in order to serve as a forum for candidates to share their visions without interruption.

KPRC2 also partnered with Telemundo Houston to host a bilingual phone bank for voter information on October 24th, as early voting began. These initiatives complemented KPRC2’s election coverage, which included sending reporters to cover every debate, conventions and important stops along the campaign trail.

WDIV Adopts Detroit Public School

WDIV-Local 4 has embarked on “Help Me Hank: The School Project,” a 10-month commitment to better the physical environment of Thurgood Marshall Elementary-Middle School in Detroit.

The station partnered with Detroit Public School Community District to identify a school that was in crucial need of building renovations.  Thurgood Marshall Elementary-Middle School is home to nearly 700 students and dedicated faculty and staff.

“As a reporter in Detroit for the last 16 years, I’ve seen school children and teachers trying to learn and teach in appalling conditions and it is unacceptable,” said Help Me Hank Consumer Reporter Hank Winchester. “‘Help Me Hank: The School Project’ is not about who is to blame for the state of the schools, but how we, as a community, can work with our generous friends and the people of the school district to create a better physical learning environment for the young and curious students of Thurgood Marshall.”

The cafeteria and front office were the first targets for renovations. Hire It Done and PPG Paint donated time, materials, and people to transform the cafeteria and main office.

“Right now the gymnasium doesn’t have bleachers. There are two-by-fours on top of paint buckets for people to sit,” said Kim Voet, news director. “The gymnasium, media center, and ways to improve technology are the next big things on our list.”

“The school mascot is a dolphin and there was not one dolphin in the building. When our friends from Fathead provided dolphin decals for the cafeteria, we could see the excitement from the faculty, staff, parents and students. We can’t wait to do so much more over the next school year,” said Winchester.

“Building quality is important to student outcomes. There’s a real sense of pride that comes from being in an updated, safe and physically attractive learning environment. Local 4 is headquartered in Detroit and the schools of this city are our neighbors and are educating our future leaders,” said Marla Drutz, Local 4 vice-president and general manager.

'Kicks for the Kids' shoe giveaway helps families put best foot forward

  

Hundreds of kids now get the chance to take a step in the right direction heading into the new school year thanks to Sunday’s “Kicks for Kids” event.  The charitable event held at the Regency Square Mall was a success thanks to the folks who donated more the 1,500 pairs of shoes.

A grandmother of seven, Loretta Grant was first in line. Her family needed help now, more than ever. The father of her grandchildren suddenly passed away in his sleep.

“He died on Christmas night,” Grant said. “He went to sleep on Christmas night and we woke up the next morning and he was dead. He died in his sleep, 34 years old, and he left behind seven kids.”

Jayden Stratton was also in line with his family. Jayden’s going into the fifth grad and was really hoping for “Jordan's, or Nikes.”  Jayden said he was just excited to get out here and meet new friends. He said he can’t wait to go back to school because he has goals to accomplish.  “Good grades mostly,” Jayden said. “Good attendance and trying to be the best I can be.”

Kara Strayer said she’s grateful her son, who’s going into the third grade, was able to get a pair of shoes for the new year.  “He's an awesome, outgoing kid and he loves to play and ride his bike outside, so he definitely goes through his fair pair of shoes,” Strayer said.

  

'Clear The Shelters' Promotes Pet Adoption

KPRC2’s commitment to the community extends to our four-legged friends.

In July, KPRC2 partnered with Telemundo Houston to help Clear the Shelters as part of a nationwide initiative spearheaded by NBC. The program encouraged overcrowded shelters to waive or deeply discount their adoption fees in order to curb euthanasia rates. Through extensive promotion of pet adoption facilities and programs, along with tips on responsible pet ownership via promotional spots and on-air interviews, Clear the Shelters helped alleviate over-crowding problems in Houston area shelters at a time of year when adoptions traditionally occur less frequently.

Through the campaign, more than 2,500 pets were adopted in the Houston area, with totals surpassing 47,000 pet adoptions nationwide.

KPRC2 Summer Blood Drive Supports Community

The Houston area sees a drop in blood donations each summer, so KPRC2 worked to raise awareness and help increase life-saving blood supplies in partnership with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center. The KPRC2 Summer Blood Drive, hosted in front of the station on June 16th, resulted in 1,412 blood donations.

The quantity represents a nine percent increase in donations over prior year totals and gave KPRC2 the designation of having the largest media-sponsored blood drive event in Houston. Each blood donation has the potential to save up to three lives, so the KPRC2 Summer Blood Drive alone could impact more than 4,000 people in the Houston area and beyond. In fact, once local blood supply needs were met, some donations collected at the KPRC2 Summer Blood Drive were sent to help victims of the mass nightclub shooting in Orlando.

WJXT Event Helps Provide Thousands With Free Dental Care

WJXT's Positively Jax partnership with the Florida Dental Association Foundation helped provide nearly 3,000 people with urgently needed dental care at no cost to the patients.  The Florida Mission of Mercy, a two day free dental clinic, offered free dental examinations, fillings, tooth extractions, root canal treatment, children's dentistry, temporary partial dentures and dental cleanings.  The dental care donated is valued at over $2.7 million.

People in need of dental work began lining up Thursday morning for the April 22-23 event, which brought together hundreds of dental and non-dental professionals to fix the smiles of Jacksonville-area residents who could not otherwise afford it.

"The genuine appreciation of the people who took advantage of this event was overwhelming," said WJXT Vice President and General Manager Bob Ellis.  "The smiles said it all.  We are so proud to serve our community and will look for more opportunities to use our voice as Jacksonville's true local TV station to make our community a better place to live," he continued.

"I've waited for this all my life.  Oh my God, I can't believe it," said Wanda George after getting out of Dr. Richard Caven's dental chair.  When first evaluated, the mother of four who had not seen a dentist in years, was told her teeth were probably too far gone to save.  But Craven said that hearing Wanda George was about to get married in three months, worked to save her teeth.  "That definitely makes me say, 'Yeah, we've got to get this one right,'" Craven said.  "That's when we know we have success...when the patient is happy with the way it looks."  News4JAX plans to follow up on Ms. George's story during her wedding in July.

Said Dr. Zack Kalarickal, DDS, "It was wonderful to partner with WJXT Channel 4 for the 2016 Florida Mission of Mercy.  Having WJXT on our team helped us truly help Jacksonville!"

Dr. Roger Robinson, DMD, one of the event's organizers, said "The ability of WJXT to get the word out and reach the dentally underserved was absolutely astonishing as witnessed by the tremendous turnout of dental patients on both days."

To make sure as many people were treated as possible, more than 2,400 volunteers were at the Prime Osborn Convention Center.  Robinson said there was no shortage of volunteers and many of them came from all over the state and even paid for their own travel and accommodations because this is something they truly believe in.

Every person News4JAX spoke with had a compelling story or need—and gratitude.  "I totally appreciate the opportunity," said Saprina Cooks.  "I'm totally grateful."

Positively Jax is an annual campaign dedicated to celebrating what's uniquely wonderful about Jacksonville by highlighting the people and things that make living here special.  Each month WJXT Channel 4 and our partner, Memorial Hospital, sponsors a Community Outreach Event and presents a Positively Jax award recognizing people or organizations making a difference in the community.

 

KPRC helps raise over $670,000 for vicitims of historic Houston flood

On Monday, April 18, 2016 historic flooding hit Houston and KPRC2’s news team stepped up to help keep viewers safe and informed. In spite of significant logistical challenges, including a power outage and generator failure, KPRC2 anchors and reporters utilized various platforms to get critical information to viewers as the flood disaster unfolded. Reporters and photojournalists teamed up to produce numerous Facebook Live videos as well as sending out photos, videos and lifesaving information via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat as well as through frequent posts on Click2Houston.com.

Team coverage of the event continued for several days, as Chief Meteorologist Frank Billingsley and the KPRC2 Severe Weather Team monitored the threat of additional rain and rising flood waters. Reporters brought awareness to areas of concern, mandatory evacuations, traffic delays, property damage and the emotional impact resulting from loss of life and relief efforts to help those who had lost so much.

KPRC2 then went beyond news coverage to help the people in our community recover from the disaster, raising much-needed funds for the American Red Cross. Through a two-day phone bank heavily covered by the station and hosted inside KPRC2 studios, more than $670,000 and counting was raised via pledges from individuals and businesses to directly help Houston flood victims. KPRC2 has teamed up with Kroger stores to continue accepting donations for Red Cross flood relief. Viewers may donate their spare change at the checkout counter at any Houston area Kroger location.