PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - The parent company of WLNE-TV ABC 6 filed for receivership, thestate’s version of bankruptcy, in Rhode Island Superior Courton Thursday, Eyewitness News has learned.
Global Broadcasting of Southern New England LLC, which owns thestation, asked for court protection to restructure and reorganizeits finances, Allan M. Shine, the company’s attorney, said ina statement. The station has been hit hard by a decline inadvertising revenue caused by the recession.
Matthew McGowan, a Providence attorney, has been appointedWLNE’s receiver, and has been authorized to continueoperating the station. It's “business as usual” atChannel 6 right now and programming will not be interrupted, Shinesaid.
“With the past several years’ downturn in the U.S.economy, as well as in the Rhode Island economy, Channel 6, likevirtually all television and other media businesses, hasexperienced a decline in revenues,” Shine said in astatement. “This business downturn has put unexpected severepressure on its ability to service its secured debt.”
By appointing McGowan as the station’s receiver, ABC 6will be able to protect its 88 employees and remain on the air, hesaid. The station had roughly 100 workers three years ago,according to published reports at the time. Its headquarters is onOrms Street in Providence.
WLNE’s advertising revenue fell 8.9 percent to $8.2million in 2008, the most recent year for which figures areavailable, according to market research firm BIA Financial NetworkInc. The station has long struggled in the Nielsen ratings.
Global Broadcasting purchased WLNE in 2007 from a Californiacompany, Freedom Communications Inc., for $14 million. Freedom hadowned the station since 1983. (WPRI-TV is owned by Providence-basedLIN Media, while WJAR-TV is owned by Media General Inc. ofVirginia.)
Global Broadcasting was co-founded in 2007 by Robinson Ewert andKevin O’Brien, two local media executives, to purchase thestation. Ewert left the company last year.
WLNE’s history dates back to 1963, when it went on the airas WTEV-TV and an ABC affiliate. It was a CBS affiliate from 1977to 1995, before switching back to ABC. Its call letters switchedfrom WTEV to WLNE in 1980. The station also operates a channel onCox Communications Inc.’s cable system.
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