Saturday, February 14, 2009

WKRN-TV’s parent company files for bankruptcy

By Rachel Stults • THE TENNESSEAN • February 14, 2009 The parent company of WKRN-TV Channel 2 says it has filed for Chapter 11 protection, according to a statement issued Friday by the New York-based company, although little local impact is expected. Young Broadcasting Inc. owns 10 television stations across the country, including WATE-TV in Knoxville and WKRN-TV, which the company bought in 1989. "We're not anticipating layoffs, we're not anticipating staff changes, we're not anticipating changes in programming," said Gwen Kinsey, general manager for WKRN-TV and WATE-TV. "All of those things are going to continue as always." The bankruptcy was filed in the Southern District of New York. Young officials said in the statement that the filing will not affect operations at any of its stations and is intended to give the company an opportunity to restructure its debt. "Our decision to restructure through a Chapter 11 filing will allow the company to bring its debt in line with current economic realities so that we can emerge a stronger and more financially secure company," Vincent Young, chairman of Young Broadcasting, said in the statement. "We believe that the company will emerge from Chapter 11 better equipped to thrive in this changing economic environment with less leverage," Young continued. "I strongly believe that our Chapter 11 filing is in the best interests of Young Broadcasting, its viewers, advertisers, employees and other key constituents." On Friday, Kinsey said WKRN-TV has sufficient cash flow and reiterated that no operational changes are expected to occur. "The company has been working on efficiencies for a while now, and that is why we're not in need of reorganization from a staffing standpoint or our day-to-day operations," Kinsey said. "It's really just restructuring the debt." Twice this year — once in January and again this week — Young Broadcasting elected to forgo making a large interest bearing on debt as a way to preserve liquidity. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact Rachel Stults at 615-726-8904 or

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