History

 

Gray Television was founded in January 1897 with the creation of The Albany Herald in Albany, Georgia. Over the next several decades, the company acquired a handful of newspapers and television stations and eventually became known as Gray Communications Systems. In 1993, Atlanta businessman Mack Robinson purchased control of Gray. Under his leadership, the company was transformed through twenty years of strategic acquisitions and subtle, yet critical transitions. Since 1993, Gray divested all of the newspapers and television stations that it owned when Mr. Robinson first became involved with the company (other than WJHG-TV in Panama City). In their place, Gray acquired and, in some cases, built from scratch, three-dozen market-leading television stations and dozens of digital and mobile platforms focused on local communities. Today, Gray is proud to own the leading media outlets in 57 markets throughout the country - all delivering the news and entertainment that millions of our neighbors count on every day.


Timeline

1897: The Herald Publishing Company was founded with the creation of the Albany Herald in Albany, Georgia.

1947: James Harrison Gray, Sr. acquired the Herald Publishing Company.

1954: The Company entered the television business when it constructed WALB-TV (Albany, GA) to complement its radio station, WALB(AM).

1960: The Company acquired WJDM-TV (Panama City, FL) and changed the call letters to WJHG-TV to complement Mr. Gray's initials.

1967: The Company changed its name to Gray Communications Systems, Inc. and launched an initial public stock offering . It also acquired KTVE-TV (Monroe, LA/El Dorado, AK).

1987: Hugh E. Norton joined Gray's Board of Directors. He is currently the longest-serving member of the Board.

1990: James H. Gray, Jr. resigned as President and surgeon William E. Mayher, III joined Gray's Board of Directors.

1991: Barry Lewis, Richard L. Boger and Howell W. Newton joined Gray's Board of Directors, and James H. Gray, Jr. resigned from the Board.

1992: John T. Williams named President and Chief Executive Officer.

1993: Atlanta businessman J. Mack Robinson purchased control of Gray Communications Systems from the estate of James H. Gray, Sr.Mr. Robinson, Robert S. Prather, and Hilton H. Howell, Jr. joined Gray's Board of Directors.

1993: The Albany Herald converted to a morning publication to serve better the needs of southwest Georgia.

1994: The Company acquired daily newspapers The Rockdale Citizen (Conyers, GA) and The Newton Citizen (Newton County, GA), plus four weekly advertising shoppers and a weekly newspaper in southwest Georgia.

1994: The Company acquired WKYT-TV (Lexington, KY) and WYMT-TV (Hazard, KY), at which time their General Manager, Ralph W. Gabbard, joined Gray as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

1995: The Company acquired daily newspaper the Gwinnett Post-Tribune (Lawrenceville, GA).

1995: The Company moved to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), trading under the symbol GCS. In addition, Ralph W. Gabbard became the Company's President and CEO.

1996: The Company acquired WCTV-TV (Tallahassee, FL) and WVLT (formerly WKXT) (Knoxville, TN), as well as satellite and production services and Porta Phone Paging services from John H. Phipps, Inc. It also purchased WRDW-TV (Augusta, GA) and sold KTVE-TV (Monroe, LA/El Dorado, AK).

1997: Harriett J. Robinson joined the Board of Directors.

1997: The Company acquired WITN-TV (Greenville-Washington-New Bern, NC). The Company also acquired Gulflink Communications, Inc., a satellite uplink service.

1998: James C. Ryan, formerly CFO of Busse Broadcasting Corporation, named Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

1998: The Company purchased Busse Broadcasting Corporation and its television stations, KOLN/KGIN-TV (Lincoln/Grand Island, NE) and WEAU-TV (Eau Claire, WI). The Company also sold WALB-TV (Albany, GA).

1999: The Company acquired the Goshen News daily newspaper (Goshen, IN).

1999: The Company merged with Bostick Broadcasting and its television stations, KWTX-TV (Waco, TX), KBTX-TV (Bryan-College Station, TX), and KXII-TV (Sherman, TX).

2002: Mr. Robinson named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Hilton H. Howell, Jr. named Vice Chairman, Robert S. Prather named President and Chief Operating Officer, and James C. Ryan named Senior Vice President.

2002: The Company changed its name to Gray Television, Inc. Ray Deaver, who formerly oversaw KWTX-TV, KBTX-TV, and KXII-TV joined Gray's Board of Directors.

2002: The Company purchased fourteen television stations from Benedek Broadcasting: WMTV-TV (Madison, WI), WOWT-TV (Omaha, NE), KKTV-TV (Colorado Springs, CO), KAKE-TV (Wichita, KS), WIBW-TV (Topeka, KS), WIFR-TV (Rockford, IL), WILX-TV (Lansing, MI), WTVY-TV (Dothan, AL), WBKO-TV (Bowling Green, KY), WTOK-TV (Meridian, MS), WSAW-TV (Wausau, WI), WTAP-TV (Parkersburg, WV), WVAW-TV (Charlottesville, VA) and WHSV-TV (Harrisonburg, VA). Concurrent with the Benedek acquisition, Gray acquired KOLO-TV (Reno, NV) from Smith Television Group

2003: T.L. (Gene) Elder joined the Board of Directors

2004: The Company launched start-up station WCAV-TV in Charlottesville, VA.

2005: Former U.S. Senator and Georgia Governor Zell B. Miller joined from the Board of Directors.

2005: The Company purchased KKCO-TV (Grand Junction, CO), WSWG (Albany, GA), and WSAZ-TV (Huntington, WV) in three separate transactions.In addition, the Company spun off its five daily newspapers and wireless messaging business into the newly formed Triple Crown Media.

2006: The Company purchased WNDU-TV (South Bend, IN) from the University of Notre Dame.

2008: Mr. Robinson resigned as Chief Executive Officer and continued as Chairman Emeritus. Hilton H. Howell, Jr. named Chief Executive Officer.

2011: Governor Miller resigned from the Board of Directors.

2012: Mr. Robinson did not stand for re-election to the Board. Robin R. Howell joined Board of Directors. Kevin P. Latek named General Counsel.

2012: The Company constructed and launched new HD television stations WECP-TV (Panama City, FL), WSVF-TV (Harrisonburg, VA), WIYE-TV (Parkersburg, WV) and WOVA-TV (Parkersburg, WV).

2013: Mr. Deaver resigned from the Board of Directors. Mr. Prather resigned from all positions with the Company. CEO Hilton Howell named President. Kevin Latek, Nick Waller, Bob Smith, and Jason Effinger named Senior Vice Presidents.

2013: The Company acquired KSNB-TV (Lincoln, NE), and it constructed and launched new HD television stations WRGX-TV (Dothan, AL) and KNPL-TV (North Platte, NE).

2013: The Company launched a new logo, website, and mission statement, establishing for itself a new brand of excellence and localism based on the strength of its employees.

2013: The Company began providing sales and other services to KJCT-TV (Grand Junction, CO).

2013: The Company purchased Yellowstone Television stations KGNS-TV (Laredo, TX), KGWN-TV/KSTF-TV and KCHY-LP (Cheyenne, WY) and KCWY-TV (Casper, WY).

2014: The Company announced the passing of “Second Founder” J. Mack Robinson.

2014: The Company purchased WQCW-TV (Charleston, WV) from Lockwood Broadcasting.

2014: The Company purchased KEVN-TV/KIVV-TV (Rapid City, SD) from Mission TV, LLC.

2014: The Company purchased the Hoak Media stations: KVLY-TV (Fargo-Valley City, ND); KSFY-TV/KABY-TV/ KPRY-TV (Sioux Falls, SD); KFYR-TV/ KMOT-TV, KUMV-TV/ KQCD-TV (Minot-Bismarck, ND); KALB-TV (Alexandria, LA); KNOE-TV (Monroe-El Dorado, LA); KNOP-TV and KIIT-LP (North Platte, NE).

2014: The Company purchased the operations other than the FCC licensed assets of six stations: KHAS-TV (Lincoln-Hastings, NE) from Hoak Media; KNDX-TV/KXND-TV (Minot-Bismarck, ND) from Prime Cities Broadcasting; KJCT-TV (Grand Junction, CO) from Excalibur Broadcasting; and KXJB-TV (Fargo, ND) and KAQY-TV (Monroe, LA) from Parker Broadcasting. The Company terminated existing and planned joint sales and services agreements with these stations and sold their licensed assets to Chang Media, Legacy Broadcasting, and MMB LLC.

2014: The Company purchased WJRT-TV (Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, MI) and WTVG-TV (Toledo, OH) from SJL Holdings, LLC.

2014: The Company renewed essentially all of its affiliation agreements with the ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and CW networks.

2014: The Company renewed over 250 retransmission consent agreements at year-end with no disruptions to local viewers.

2015: The Company announced the opening of its Washington D.C. News Bureau.

2015: The Company and NBC enter into TV Everywhere Agreement, and the Company launches all of its CBS stations on the “CBS All Access” platform.

2015: The Company purchased KMVT-TV and KSVT-TV (Twin Falls, ID) from Neuhoff Media.

2015: The Company purchased WAGM-TV (Presque, ME) from NEPSK, Inc.

2015: The Company purchased KOSA-TV (Odessa, TX) from Investment Company of America.

2015: The Company purchased the operations other than the FCC licensed assets of WFXS-TV (Wausau-Rhinelander, WI) and KVTV-TV (Laredo, TX) from Davis Television, LLC and Eagle Creek Television, respectively.

2015: The Company announced the election of Beth Neuhoff to its Board of Directors.

2015: The Company announced that it would directly represent essentially all of its television stations in national sales, ending its long-standing national ad rep relationships as of the first of the new year.

2015: The Company purchased KCRG-TV (Cedar Rapids, IA) from The Gazette Company.

2015: The Company announced its purchase of all of the television and radio stations owned by Schurz Communications, Inc. The Company subsequently announced the divestiture of all the radio stations and certain television stations to facilitate regulatory approvals.

2015: The Company selected by TVNewsCheck as "2016 Station Group of the Year".

2016: The Company announced the promotion of its five Senior Vice Presidents to new roles as Executive Vice Presidents.

2016: The Company closed on the swap of KAKE-TV (Wichita, KS) for WBXX-TV (Knoxville, TN).

2016: The Company announced the passing of its Chairman since 1993, Dr. Billy Mayher, III.

2016: The Company closed its acquisition of television stations from Schurz Communications, Inc. and related station acquisitions and divestitures with other counter-parties.

2016: The Company made a $3 million strategic equity investment in Syncbak, a technology company that replicates over-the-air broadcasts for delivery over-the-top (OTT) of the Internet.

2016: The National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF) selected KWTX-TV (CBS) in Waco, Texas, and KOLO-TV (ABC) in Reno, Nevada, to receive two of the three annual Service to America Awards.

2016: The Company reached an agreement with Withers Broadcasting Company to acquire WDTV (CBS) and WVFX (FOX/CW) in Clarksburg, West Virginia. It also reached an agreement with Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. to acquire two television stations that Nexstar will divest upon its merger with Media General, Inc.: WBAY (ABC), in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KWQC (NBC) in Davenport, Iowa, both currently owned and operated by Media General.

2016: The Board of Directors unanimously voted to expand the Board by one seat and elected Luis A. Garcia as a Director to fill that position.