Rupert Murdoch Buys Channel 2
The new owner of KTVI (Channel 2) is Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp., which owns Fox Network, 20th Century Fox Film Studios as well as countless other media outlets around the world. Murdoch bought New World Communications, Channel 2’s owner and the owner of nine other television stations around the country. Murdoch has owned 20 percent of New World and bought the other 80 percent of the company for $3 billion.
Murdoch’s company is the fourth owner of Channel 2 in the past four years. Times Mirror sold Channel 2 along with its other television stations to San Antonio-based Argyle Communications back in 1993 for a little more than $300 million. Argyle then sold its stations to New World for more than $700 million in a deal that took effect in the spring of 1995. As part of its ownership deal with Murdoch, New World converted all of its television stations to Fox Network affiliates. The affiliation change in St. Louis, which moved Channel 2 from ABC to Fox, happened last August.
The latest roll of the dice in television Monopoly© should result in little visual change at Channel 2. The station has spent the past year retuning its news operation into the Fox mold and that is likely to continue.
The biggest impact of a change in ownership at a television station – or any other media outlet, for that matter – is among the employees at that station. It can be very unsettling. It can mean a new general manager, a new news director and the different visions these people bring to their jobs.
For now that doesn’t seem to be an issue. The news department leadership at Channel 2 has been stable, but the station has had four general managers over the past several years. Current KTVI-TV President and General Manager Spencer Koch has been in the job since July 1995. Industry observers expect him to continue in the roll under Murdoch’s ownership.
(Originally published in the St. Louis Journalism Review 9/1996).