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WADL Detroit sold to Mission, possibly for CW move

Mission's stations are mostly-controlled by Nexstar Media Group, which is losing its CW affiliate in the Motor City.

Mission's stations are mostly-controlled by Nexstar Media Group, which is losing its CW affiliate in the Motor City.

The television studio and administrative offices of WADL-TV in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo via Google Street View)
The television studio and administrative offices of WADL-TV in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo via Google Street View)

A broadcaster whose television stations are controlled by Nexstar Media Group is adding a Detroit station to its roster.

On Wednesday, Mission Broadcasting announced it was acquiring WADL (Channel 38), an independent station that currently airs shows from programming distributor MyNetwork.

Mission will spend $75 million acquiring WADL, according to a report by Detroit News. The station’s current parent company, Adell Broadcasting, is currently being sued by the federal government on allegations of unpaid taxes.

The sale comes at a good time for Nexstar, which is losing eight CW affiliates owned by Paramount Global later this year. One of the eight stations that will drop CW Network programming is WKBD (Channel 50), which will convert to an independent station around the start of the fall television season.

If the sale goes through, Detroit’s CW affiliation will almost certainly move from WKBD to WADL. Nexstar owns a majority stake in the CW Network, and operates nearly all of Mission Broadcasting’s local stations through shared services agreements. (A press release announcing Mission’s pending acquisition of WADL was republished by some Nexstar-owned broadcast stations.)

Earlier this month, Nexstar announced it was purchasing KUSI-TV (Channel 51) from McKinnon Broadcasting Company in a deal valued at over $35 million. Once the sale is complete, Nexstar says it will move the CW Network affiliation from a digital subchannel of TEGNA-owned KFMB (Channel 8, CBS) to KUSI.

In other markets, the CW Network affiliation is likely to move to independent stations owned by Nexstar — including KRON-TV (Channel 4) in San Francisco — or those owned by third parties.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).