Hoak Media Corporation of Dallas announced Tuesday that it has signed a definitive agreement with Greater Nebraska Television Inc. to acquire the assets of KNOP-TV and KIIT. The acquisition also includes KHAS-TV, the NBC affiliate serving the Hastings market.
The transaction is pending approval by the Federal Communications Commission and is anticipated to close before Dec. 31.
The family of the late Richard Shively, major stockholder of Greater Nebraska Television, made the move to sell the company. Also sold were shares owned by the Carlini family of North Platte, equaling roughly 10 percent.
KNOP General Manager Lewys Carlini said Shively was responsible for bringing the Carlini family to North Platte in 1968 to manage the station.
He said no changes are expected at this time with the local stations.
"The beauty of this is at this time, they do not want to change anything with the local entity," he said.
"Things are running so smoothly, they said making changes at this time could hurt the business here. They want things to keep going in the positive direction Greater Nebraska Television has started.
"The coverage won't change. It should be seamless to the viewer."
He said the hourly station identification would likely change from Greater Nebraska Television to Hoak Media of Nebraska.
He said Hoak Media is known as a progressive company, and would be capable of moving the local affiliate in a positive direction.
"I can see us moving into the digital future with them," he said. "I don't know if that would have been possible with our current company."
He explained that the FCC has mandated that stations have fully digital signal by 2009, requiring new transmitters, towers and related equipment, at a cost of roughly $2 million per station.
"We are talking major capital expenses, and we weren't sure how we would come up with the funds to do that," he said.
"We're excited about the future."
Hoak Media Corporation was formed by Jim Hoak and Eric Van den Branden in 2003. Including this pending acquisition, the company owns, operates, or programs nine television stations in four markets in Texas, Colorado and Nebraska. Hoak Media's television station group includes affiliates of CBS, NBC, FOX and UPN.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.