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Nexstar buys low-power TV station in Sarasota, Florida

WSNN, which offers programming as the Suncoast News Network, will add to Nexstar's ownership of two stations in nearby Tampa.

WSNN, which offers programming as the Suncoast News Network, will add to Nexstar's ownership of two stations in nearby Tampa.

The skyline of Sarasota, Florida. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Nexstar Media Group is acquiring a low-power television station in Sarasota, the company announced on Monday.

The acquisition of WSNN-LD (Channel 39) is being characterized as a move that will allow Nexstar to expand its local news from Tampa into several other communities.

Currently, Nexstar owns NBC affiliate WFLA (Channel 8) in neighboring Tampa. WSNN offers local news under the “Suncoast News Network” brand, and Nexstar says the acquisition of the low-power TV station will allow it to expand WFLA’s local news into Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte. (WFLA and WSNN already have a shared news agreement in place.)

“WSNN-LD and its Suncoast News Network provide comprehensive local news, weather and sports coverage across both linear and digital platforms, and offer a variety of advertising opportunities for businesses and marketers throughout Sarasota and the three-county region,” Mark Higgins, the vice president and general manager of WFLA and sister-station WTTA, said in a statement. “WSNN-LD is the perfect complement to WFLA-TV and WTTA-TV, and positions us extremely well in what will again be a battleground state during the 2024 presidential election cycle.”

The acquisition also comes at a time when Nexstar is facing the loss of CW affiliates in eight markets, including Tampa, after Paramount Global announced it will drop that network’s programming from its owned-and-operated stations and convert them to independent outlets. Nexstar acquired majority ownership of the CW Network last year.

Currently, CW Network programming airs on WTOG (Channel 44). Later this fall, it is expected that CW Network programming will move from WTOG to WTTA (Channel 38), another Tampa station owned by Nexstar that currently offers programming from MyNetwork.

Nexstar is currently working to put its CW Network programming on stations in the other seven affected markets. Last week, a third party company that does close business with Nexstar announced it was acquiring WADL (Channel 38) in Detroit, which is expected to serve as the new CW Network affiliate later this year. Earlier this month, Nexstar said it would spend $35 million to acquire San Diego independent station KUSI (Channel 51), and affirmed CW programming will move there once the deal closes.

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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).