InSite Wireless Group has expanded its broadcast tower portfolio through a management agreement with TEGNA, a TV broadcast group, to provide operational support, as well as marketing services, for TEGNA’s wholly owned broadcast towers.
InSite had already been adding to its broadcast tower portfolio. Of its 2,000 total towers, 180 have broadcasters as tenants. The addition of TEGNA’s portfolio brings asset from 51 television stations and four radio stations in 43 markets. It is the largest owner of the top four affiliates in the largest 25 markets.
“The TEGNA tower sites are a large portfolio and a great complement to our already robust broadcast tower facilities across the United States. There is not a lot of overlap. They have extended our reach,” said David Denton, senior vice president for broadcast, who manages InSite’s existing owned and managed broadcast tower assets.
TEGNA will maintain ownership of the towers, while InSite will add revenue, marketing to new tenants, and manage operations by taking care of existing tenants and maintaining the facilities.
“Working with InSite will improve our ability to support, maintain and monetize our TEGNA owned broadcast towers,” said Robert Lydick, vice president, information technology and station operations, TEGNA. “We chose InSite for its industry expertise and we look forward to working with the InSite team to drive value for TEGNA and our portfolio of broadcast towers.”
In another bonus of the tower management agreement, as the TEGNA tower portfolio continues to grow so will InSite’s. In fact, on June 11, TEGNA purchased television stations WTHR, in Indianapolis, IN; WBNS, the Columbus, OH; and WBNS Radio, central Ohio. Before that, in March, the broadcaster added 11 more TV stations to its holdings.
Broadcast Spectrum Repack
With the additional towers, InSite will become even busier. The TEGNA agreement comes during phase four of the 10-phase broadcast repack, which began following the conclusion of the broadcast television incentive auction in April 2017. Certain broadcast TV stations are required to move from their pre-auction channels to new channels in the reorganized broadcast television bands. Many markets are still in the process of changing out broadcast antennas and some have not yet begun.
“We are full speed ahead in the repack in markets across the United States. It puts a lot of strain on tower crews that can do this type of work,” Denton. “We love towers. We love the broadcast business. We are excited to take on this additional responsibility.”