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Published: Friday, 4/1/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

No major shake-ups planned at Channel 13

WTVG returns Friday to its former owner

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

The shows and the network will be the same and the news personnel also will remain after Friday as one of Toledo's original television stations returns to the control of its former owner.

The sale of WTVG-TV, Channel 13, Toledo's ABC station affiliate, from ABC Owned Television Stations Group, part of the Walt Disney Co., to SJL Broadcasting of San Luis Obispo, Calif., is to be completed Friday, station officials said.

The transaction includes a second station, WJRT-TV, Channel 12 in Flint, Mich. Upon closing, ABC will receive $16.8 million for WTVG, and $13.2 million for WJRT. The Federal Communications Commission approved the sale in February.

Toledo and Flint represented two of the smallest markets out of ABC's 10 corporate-owned stations, which include Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and Houston.

In November when the sale was announced, Rebecca Campbell, president of ABC Owned Television Stations, said that the decision to sell "makes strategic sense for the future direction of the ABC Owned Television Stations group as we sharpen our focus on larger markets with greater growth potential."

SJL President and Chief Executive Officer George Lilly owned the Toledo and Flint stations 16 years ago before selling them to ABC.

Station officials said there would be no change to on-air talent or programming, or job losses among the station's approximately 100 employees. Longtime station president and general manager David Zamichow is leaving and will be succeeded by John Christianson.

Mr. Christianson has been the general manager of SJL's WSEE (CBS affiliate), WBEP (The CW Network), and One Caribbean Television in Erie, Pa., since 2007. Prior to his promotion as general manager, Mr. Christianson spent 10 years as WSEE's news director and started his career in television at WQAD (ABC affiliate), in Moline, Ill., in 1991.

In the most recent Neilsen ratings book for the industry's February sweeps, Channel 13 won five of the six head-to-head newscasts over its longtime rival Channel 11.



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