Nexstar to Sell Fort Smith TV Station for $5.6 Million

Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc. of Irving, Texas, which owns KARK-TV, Channel 4, in Little Rock, said Wednesday that it has filed with the Federal Communications Commission to sell KFTA-TV, Channel 24, in Fort Smith to Mission Broadcasting Inc. of Becksville, Ohio, for $5.6 million.

Nexstar said that should the deal go through, Mission will make the station a Fox Broadcasting affiliate.

Mission also plans to enter a joint sales and shared services agreement with Nexstar's KNWA-TV, the northwest Arkansas market's NBC affiliate. Under that arrangement, KNWA would provide local news, sales and other nonprogramming services to KFTA.

"If approved, the sale of KFTA to Mission will provide viewers in the Fort Smith-Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers [designated market area] with a full-power Fox station as well as the market's first prime time local newscast," said Perry A. Sook, chairman, president and CEO of Nexstar Broadcasting Group.

Nexstar said it has time brokerage agreements, shared services agreements and joint sales agreements with other television stations owned by Mission but that it does not own an equity interest in the company.

KFTA was the Fort Smith half of the market's KPOM/KFAA, Channels 24/51. When Nexstar purchased the station from JDG Television Inc. of Muskogee, Okla., in 2004, it changed the call letters to KFTA/KNWA. KWNA broadcasts out of Fayetteville, but KFTA carries the signal in Fort Smith.

Now it appears the market might have a Fox affiliate operating out of Fort Smith and providing local news and weather with a prime-time newscast similar to what other Fox affiliates, including Little Rock's Clear Channel-owned KLRT-TV, Channel 16, provide throughout the country.

Nexstar Broadcasting Group owns, operates, programs or provides sales and other services to 46 television stations in 27 states. The station group includes affiliates of NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX and UPN and reaches about 7 percent of U.S. television households.

Mission Broadcasting owns and operates 14 television stations throughout the U.S. in small and mid-sized markets. The private company reported $36.5 million in revenue in 2004.