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Storer Broadcasting, Inc. is a former owner of television and radio stations in the United States. It was incorporated in Ohio in 1927, and sold its broadcasting properties in 1983.

Contents

History

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1920s—1940s

In 1927, George B. Storer and his brother-in-law J. Harold Ryan were building service stations for Speedene brand gasoline in the Toledo, Ohio area. Speedene sales were booming, thanks to a cost-cutting device implemented by the partners. They bypassed the cost of trucking gasoline to service stations by building the stations beside railroad sidings and sold their product at two or three cents a gallon under the going retail rate by filling their tanks directly from railroad tank cars. Storer decided to buy some radio spots on WTOL in Toledo to advertise his gas stations. The spots were effective, and Storer decided to use his wealth to buy the station. Storer Broadcasting was born, and the Toledo radio station became WSPD, "Speedy AM," symbolic of the gasoline brand.

1950s—1960s

The company was primarily in the broadcast radio business. In the 1950s as television broadcasting boomed, the company entered the television market starting WSPD-TV in Toledo and purchasing several television stations in other markets. The company focused primarily on the radio and television businesses through much of its history. However, it did venture into the cable television business in the early 1960s. In addition, it also purchased Northeast Airlines, a company sold to Delta Air Lines in 1972. George Storer was President of the company until his retirement in 1973; he remained Chairman of the company until his death in 1975. Due to his position as a director of CBS, he was able to obtain lucrative CBS network affiliations for Storer-owned television stations, such as WXEL and WJBK which had been DuMont affiliates. By 1961 Storer was the nation's sixth-largest television broadcaster—exceeded in size only by the three networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC), Metropolitan Broadcasting (later Metromedia) and the Group W division of Westinghouse. George's son, Peter Storer, became President in 1973.

The company purchased its first cable television system in 1963. It also for a brief period of time ventured into program syndication as Storer Programs Inc., during which it was the U.S. distributor of the original 1963-65 run of The Littlest Hobo produced in Canada.

1970s—1980s

During the 1970s Peter Storer and the Storer Board of Directors decided to focus the company on cable television. Storer sold the radio assets and the airline. It reinvested the funds into cable television. Commencing in 1978, it embarked on an aggressive program of acquiring cable franchises. Unlike many cable operators, Storer preferred to acquire franchises and build its cable systems rather than acquire existing cable operations.

The company's name was changed to Storer Communications, Inc. in 1983. By 1984, Storer owned and operated seven television stations and held franchises to provide cable television service to over 500 communities in 18 states and employed approximately 4,800. In 1985. Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts took Storer Communications private in a hostile leveraged buyout.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts] & Co., also known as KKR, sold the television assets in 1987. WTVG (the former WSPD-TV) was sold to a local ownership group, eventually becoming an ABC owned-and-operated (O&O) station in 1995 (it had been a longtime NBC affiliate prior to its sale to ABC). The remaining former Storer television stations were then sold to Gillett Communications in 1987, and then sold to SCI, then to New World Communications in 1993. Fox Television Stations purchased the stations in 1997 except WSBK and KNSD. Most of the stations switched to Fox affiliation, resulting in CBS scrambling to find affiliates in Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee, and eventually landing UHF stations in those cities. WSBK which remained independent and was sold to Viacom (which at one point owned the former WJBK-FM, WDRQ) to eventually become a UPN affiliate. KNSD, which remained an NBC affiliate, was later sold directly to NBC to become an NBC owned and operated station. The cable assets were sold to Comcast Corporation and TCI in 1988. Michael Tallent became President of Storer, succeeding Kenneth Bagwell, upon the consummation of this transaction. Storer Communications continued to be operated as a Cable Television company until the assets were split between Comcast and TCI in the mid 1990's. Mr. Tallent joined Comcast in 1991 and was succeeded by William Whelan, Storer's final President.

Stations formerly owned by Storer

Television stations

Note: ** indicates a station built and signed on by Storer.

DMA# Market Station Years owned Current affiliation/owner
4. Wilmington, DE - Philadelphia WVUE 12 1957-1958 defunct
(frequency currently occupied by PBS member station WHYY-TV)
7. Boston WSBK-TV 38 1966-1985 Independent owned by CBS Corporation
8. Atlanta WAGA-TV 5** 1949-1985 Fox owned-and-operated (O&O)
11. Detroit WJBK-TV 2** 1948-1985 Fox owned-and-operated (O&O)
17. Miami - Fort Lauderdale WFTL-TV /
WGBS-TV 23
1954-1957 defunct
(see WAJA-TV/WLTV, below, for frequency's present-day occupant)
WAJA-TV 23
(now WLTV)
1967 Univision owned-and-operated (O&O)
18. Cleveland WJW-TV 8
(known as WJKW-TV
from 1977-1985)
1954-1985 Fox affiliate owned by Local TV
22. Portland, Oregon KPTV 27
(now 12)
1954-1957 Fox affiliate owned by Meredith Corporation
28. San Diego KCST-TV 39
(now KNSD)
1974-1985 NBC owned-and-operated (O&O)
(co-owned with LIN Television [24%])
35. Milwaukee WITI-TV 6 1958-1985 Fox affiliate owned by Local TV
37. San Antonio, Texas KEYL 5
(now KENS)
1951-1954 CBS affiliate owned by Belo Corporation
40. Birmingham, Alabama WBRC-TV 6 1953-1957 Fox affiliate owned by Raycom Media
73. Toledo, Ohio WSPD-TV/WTVG 13** 1948-1985 ABC owned-and-operated (O&O)

Radio stations

AM Stations FM Stations
DMA# Market Station Current owner
1. New York City WHN-1050
(now WEPN)
ESPN Radio (Disney)
2. Los Angeles KGBS-1020
(now KTNQ)
Univision Radio
KGBS-FM-101.9
(now KLSX)
CBS Radio
7. Philadelphia WIBG-990
(now WNTP)
Salem Communications
9. Atlanta WAGA-1460
(now WYZE)
WYZE Radio, Inc.
WAGA-FM-103.3
(now WVEE)
CBS Radio
10. Detroit WJBK-1500
(now WLQV)
Salem Communications
WJBK-FM-93.1
(now WDRQ)
Citadel Broadcasting
12. Miami/Fort Lauderdale WGBS-710
(now WAQI)
Univision Radio
26. Cleveland, Ohio WJW-850
(now WKNR)
Good Karma Broadcasting
WJW FM-104.1
(now WQAL)
CBS Radio
57. Birmingham, Alabama WBRC-960
(now WERC)
Clear Channel Communications
WBRC-FM-106.9
(now WBPT)
Cox Radio
87. Toledo, Ohio WSPD-1370 Clear Channel Communications
154. Wheeling, West Virginia WWVA-1170 Clear Channel Communications

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