HARLINGEN, RGV – R Communications is selling the Rio Grande Valley’s PBS station – KMBH-TV – to Entravision Communications Corporation.
R Communications, through its subsidiary, MB Revolution LLC, purchased KMBH-TV from the RGV Educational Broadcasting, a subsidiary of the Diocese of Brownsville, in early 2015 for approximately $8.5 million. It is selling to Entravision for a reported $2.9 million.
Carlos Rodriguez, president and CEO of San Antonio-based R Communications, said KMBH-TV was being sold in order to bolster its radio station operations.
“We want to concentrate on radio. As you know, NPR was also sold and we want to maintain, for example, KURV, as a voice of the Valley for news. Our strategy is more focused with that and the radio arena,” Rodriguez told the Rio Grande Guardian, in an exclusive interview.
When mentioning NPR, Rodriguez was referring to the Diocese of Brownsville’s recent sale of KHID 88.1 FM and KJJF 88.9 FM to Immaculate Heart Media, a Catholic broadcasting group.
R Communications was formed in 2011, when its owners purchased many radio stations along the South Texas-Mexico border. KMBH was the only TV station in the R Communications stable. Rodriguez said selling the station would help the company’s financial situation.
“There are challenges that we are facing that require our full investment, both time, effort and money-wise. For the past four years we have been funding KMBH and PBS ourselves and right now the strategy goes on a different highway or a different route.”
Asked why KMBH-TV was being sold to Entravision, Rodriguez said:
“We have very good relationships with our competitors in radio that also have TV, like Entravision and, well, they were interested in having another TV channel and we were interested in selling, so hunger meets food and we came to an arrangement. We are, yes, unloading the assets off our books and they are taking it over.”
According to a spokesperson for the Federal Communications Corporation who did not wish to be named, an application to sell KMBH-TV was filed on Aug. 8. According to the FCC website, a public comment period is currently open and closes on Sept. 11. “We do not comment on pending transfers,” the spokesperson said. She said the price of the sale is not listed on the application lodged with the FCC.
Asked when the sale of KMBH-TV will be completed, Rodriguez said: “Within the timeframe the FCC allots for this kind of transaction.”
On its website, Entravision lists the purchase price of KMBH-TV as $2.9 million. The website says this information is provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Asked about the selling price of KMBH-TV, R Communications’ Rodriguez said: “It should have been disclosed on the FCC website. I have to careful also because Entravision is a public traded company and we respect that. Whenever they want to make a comment they will. We just do not want to interview or any way interfere with their process and procedures.”
Asked if the selling price is going to be higher than the $8.5 million R Communications purchased KMBH-TV for, Rodriguez said: “No we are selling it for a substantially lower amount.” Asked if the station was being sold at a lower price because conditions in the market had changed, Rodriguez said: “Yes, things have changed.”
Rodriguez acknowledged that PBS is not currently available in the Rio Grande Valley to viewers over-the-air. However, he said it is available via cable.
“We are off air right now over the air. We are dealing with one minor problem with the transmitter that should be solved in a few days, hopefully,” Rodriguez said.
Asked where R Communications goes from here, Rodriguez said: “We have a great team. We believe we have the best sales team in the Valley and we want to just keep them focused on the one thing we are experts in, which is radio.”
Calls to Entravision’s San Monica, Calif., corporate head office were not returned at press time.
The Wikipedia entry for KMBH-TV states:
“In March 2014, the $8.5 million sale to MB Revolution LLC (MBTV Texas Valley is a subsidiary of R Communications) was officially announced and filed with the FCC. The new owners then took control of KMBH through a local marketing agreement; though MB intends to program the station commercially, it remained a PBS station as of March 28, 2014. Programming from the Diocese will continue to be produced from the KMBH studios and aired on a digital subchannel for eight hours each month. MB’s owner, Robert Martinez-McCarter, already owns six radio stations in the Rio Grande Valley. On May 20, 2015, MB Revolution received FCC approval to buy the station.
“By the start of 2016, PBS programming would move to the .2 position of its broadcast signal (which remained the non-commercial educational), with .1 replaced with Cozi TV, the classic television network owned by NBCUniversal, and .3 replaced with “RTV-Musica”, a locally programmed Spanish-language music channel. As of 2018, “RTV-Musica” is simulcast on both the .1 and .3 subchannels, with Cozi TV programming airing on a subchannel of KTLM.”
Entravision Communications Corporation owns and/or operates 55 primary television stations. A large majority of its television stations broadcast in 20 of the top 50 U.S. Hispanic markets.
According to its website, Entravision’s television assets consist primarily of the largest affiliate groups for the two television networks of Univision Communications Inc., Univision and UniMas.
“Each of our stations has been ranked as the number one U.S. Spanish-language television station in each of the markets in which we broadcast. The U.S. Hispanic consumer base in our television markets represents approximately $217 billion in consumer spending,” the website states.
“We own and/or operate Univision and UniMas affiliates in 20 of our 24 television markets, creating valuable duopolies that allow us to better reach Hispanic consumers.
“Over half of our Univision and UniMas affiliates are strategically located in California and Texas, two states that account for approximately half of the nation’s Hispanic population. These states also contain the top 5 highest-density U.S. Hispanic markets, all being markets where we operate television duopolies. These markets are: Laredo, Texas; McAllen-Brownsville, Texas; El Paso, Texas; Yuma, Arizona-El Centro, California; and Corpus Christi, Texas.
“We believe that we are one of the largest owners of media assets in five important high-density U.S. Hispanic markets that border Mexico. We own and/or operate 11 television stations in the following international metroplexes: San Diego, California/Tijuana, Mexico; Yuma, Arizona-El Centro, California/Mexicali, Mexico; El Paso, Texas/Juarez, Mexico; Laredo, Texas/Nuevo Laredo, Texas; and McAllen-Brownsville, Texas/Reynoso-Matamoros, Mexico. Approximately 8 million people of Hispanic descent live in this 5-market international border region.”
The website also states that Entravision Communications Corporation is a leading global media company that reaches and engages U.S. Latinos across acculturation levels and media channels, as well as consumers in Mexico and other markets in Latin America.
“The Company’s comprehensive portfolio incorporates integrated media and marketing solutions comprised of acclaimed television, radio, digital properties, events, and data analytics services,” the website states.
“Entravision has 55 primary television stations and is the largest affiliate group of both the Univision and UniMás television networks. Entravision also owns and operates 49 primarily Spanish-language radio stations featuring nationally recognized talent, as well as the Entravision Audio Network and Entravision Solutions, a coast-to-coast national spot and network sales and marketing organization representing Entravision’s owned and operated, as well as its affiliate partner, radio stations.
“Entravision’s Pulpo digital advertising unit is the #1-ranked online advertising platform in Hispanic reach according to comScore Media Metrix®, and Entravision’s digital group also includes Headway, a leading provider of mobile, programmatic, data and performance digital marketing solutions primarily in the United States, Mexico and other markets in Latin America. Entravision shares of Class A Common Stock are traded on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol: EVC.”
Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows an image from R Communication’s website.