Bonneville International Corp. announced the sale of its Seattle television station on Tuesday but reiterated its intentions to hold on to Salt Lake TV station KSL.
In a press conference in Seattle, Bonneville officials revealed that long-rumored talk of a sale was true - and that Belo Corp. is the buyer.The purchase price for KIRO-TV has been set at $160 million. As with all such transactions, it's subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission.
Both KIRO and KSL have been in some degree of turmoil in recent weeks. Because of various station swaps and affiliation deals set in motion late last year when Fox snatched 12 ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates, both the Seattle and Salt Lake CBS stations stand to lose their affiliations.
The official announcement by Bonneville of the KIRO sale acknowledged that fact, stating that "Belo plans to operate KIRO-TV as an independent station with a full local news service" should the station lose its CBS affiliation.
Bonneville President Rodney H. Brady also acknowledged that KSL could lose its affiliation but stated categorically that his company has no intention of selling its only remaining television station. (Bonneville also owns 15 radio stations and is in the process of purchasing two more.)
"We remain committed to the television business in Salt Lake City," Brady said. "Though we hope to be able to retain our CBS affiliation at KSL-TV, if that is not possible, we will explore other possibilities.
"The bottom line is that KSL-TV is not for sale."
One option KSL is exploring is affiliating with NBC. And that network is interested in KSL, should it trade its local station - KUTV - to CBS in a complex affiliate swap.
KSL could also try to work a deal with ABC or become an independent station.