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CBS Agrees to Buy Providence TV Station WPRI-TV

March 3, 1995

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ CBS Inc. has agreed to buy the television station WPRI, an ABC affiliate for more than a decade, from Narragansett Television LP, the companies announced today.

Terms of the sale, which must be approved by the Federal Communications Commission, were not disclosed.

CBS owns seven TV stations, most of them in large markets, and has a deal pending to buy an eigth station in Detroit.

Providence is the 44th-largest television market in the nation. WPRI is a VHF station operating on Channel 12.

``WPRI-TV is an outstanding television station in a vibrant marketplace,″ CBS Broadcast Group President Peter Lund said. ``We are pleased to be adding it to the CBS family.″

CBS’s current affiliate in Providence is WLNE-TV, Channel 6.

Narragansett Television has owned WPRI since 1989. The company sold its only other station _ CBS affiliate WTKR-TV in Norfolk, Va. _ to The New York Times Co. last week.

``We made these investments on a five- to seven-year time horizon, and that is the reason for the sale,″ Narragansett spokesman Mark Masiello said. ``We’re please with the outcome of the investment as well as the outcome of the sale.″

WPRI was a CBS affiliate until the late 1970s, when it switched affiliations with WLNE.

WPRI general manager Bob Finke praised the move and said he wasn’t concerned by CBS’s low prime-time ratings.

``I jumped for joy when I heard the news,″ Finke said. I always have been a big fan of the network. ... The ratings are always cyclical. To me those are transitory things. I’m convinced CBS is the way for us to be number one.″

CBS, after winning last year’s ratings race, appears headed for a third-place finish this year.

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