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At a cost of $175 million, Granite Broadcasting’s most recent purchase of the WB affiliated station in Detroit marks the largest acquisition in the company’s history, and its first entry into a top-10 market. It increases Granite’s total number of stations to 11 and extends its combined reach from 6% to approximately 8% percent of the U.S. television households.
Because Granite already owns a station serving Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, and has contracted to buy a station in Lansing for approximately $19 million, it now operates stations reaching almost 80% of television households in Michigan.
Another major first for the company occurred when it acquired a radio station in Illinois for $1 million. The company is trying to use radio as a means of expanding its local news franchise in the Peoria/Bloomington television market, Cornwell says: “All we’re trying to do is give people the opportunity to tune in and listen to weather or sports updates, or even simulcast one of our TV news programs if they’re not home to watch it.”
Thus far, the TV-radio combination appears to be working well, Cornwell says, with the radio station’s share of listeners in the Peoria area increasing from 2% to 6% since Granite took over. Overall, the station ranks No. 5 out of 12 in that market.