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Nexstar to spend $35 million acquiring KUSI-TV in San Diego

The purchase will create a duopoly with the area's Fox affiliate, KSWB, with CW programming moving to KUSI later this year.

The purchase will create a duopoly with the area's Fox affiliate, KSWB, with CW programming moving to KUSI later this year.

A still frame from a broadcast on KUSI-TV in San Diego. (Graphic by The Desk)
A still frame from a broadcast on KUSI-TV in San Diego. (Graphic by The Desk)

Nexstar Media Group is acquiring an independent station in San Diego for more than $35 million, the company announced on Monday.

The deal will see Nexstar buy KUSI-TV (Channel 51) from McKinnon Broadcasting Company, creating a duopoly with the area’s Fox affiliate, KSWB-TV (Channel 69).

KUSI is known for its unique brand of local news, which has been perceived as carrying a right-of-center tilt. It produces more hours of local news content than any other station in the market.

“KUSI’s established local news operations serving viewers and advertisers across the San Diego community is a perfect fit with our station group and existing San Diego operations at KSWB,” Tom Carter, the president and chief operating officer at Nexstar, said in a statement. “Their mission of serving the community by delivering the most local news in the market is consistent with Nexstar’s commitment to providing consumers expansive local content on linear and digital platforms.”

Nexstar said the acquisition of KUSI is expected to close later this year. When it does, Nexstar intends to move the market’s CW affiliation to the station, while continuing to offer Fox programming on KSWB. At the moment, CW Network programming airs on a digital subchannel of KFMB (Channel 8), a CBS affiliate owned by TEGNA.

KUSI is McKinnon’s only broadcast asset, and the sale of the station to Nexstar effectively ends the company. In a statement, owner Mike McKinnon had nothing but praise for Nexstar and its CEO, Perry Sook, calling him a “great broadcaster who has built a tremendous organization.”

“We have a great team of news people at KUSI-TV, and joining these two companies will create one of the most dynamic news organizations in all of Southern California,” McKinnon said.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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