ITT, Dow Jones Buy City’s TV Station for $207 Million
NEW YORK (AP) _ The ITT Corp. and Dow Jones & Co. agreed to buy the city’s public service television station for $207 million and said today they hope to turn it into a superstation emphasizing business and sports.
The companies are planning to transform WNYC-TV into a 24-hour sports, financial news and entertainment service called WBIS-Plus.
Rand V. Araskog, chairman and chief executive officer of ITT, said that the station will be known as ``S-Plus,″ signifying sports, style, stocks and success.
``To the extent that we can accomplish the creation of a superstation without stepping on the toes of the various organizations that we’re associated with, such as the NBA and the NHL, we will obviously want to do that,″ said Araskog.
Superstations like WTBS in Atlanta and WGN in Chicago get the name because they are local stations who are carried by cable systems around the country.
WNYC-TV, a UHF outlet on channel 31, was said last year to be worth about $40 million. But it had become a hot property with deregulation of the TV industry, attracting big players who drove up the bidding.
ITT and Dow Jones each will pay $103.5 million for the station. The partnership will be managed on a 50/50 basis.
Dow Jones Chairman Peter R. Kann said his company will supply ``original New York-based business programming″ to the station and draw on its Asian and European business channels.
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced the sale, which still is subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission. Kann said that is expected to take about six months.
Giuliani said he believes government should not run a TV station.
Besides financial and business programming, the station will offer professional sports events such as New York Yankees, Knicks and Rangers games. Rights to those games rest largely with the MSG cable network, which is owned by ITT, and the Cablevision Systems Corp. ITT also owns Madison Square Garden.
S-Plus also will include college sports and live events from Madison Square Garden, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and New York City’s cabarets and theaters.
Dow Jones provides business and economic programming, publishes the Dow Jones News Service, The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s weekly.