Schurz Communications, owner of the South Bend Tribune, has agreed to sell its TV and radio stations to Gray Television.
Atlanta-based Gray reached a deal to buy the Schurz properties – two dozen TV and radio stations combined – for $442.5 million. Schurz will retain the South Bend Tribune and its other newspapers, as well as the four cable companies it now owns.
The move by family-owned Schurz to sell its broadcast arm is one that could resonate for years, especially in Michiana, where the company has its headquarters.
While the Schurz company began more than 140 years ago with the South Bend Tribune, it launched a local radio station in 1922 and WSBT-TV in 1951, cementing its standing as a media powerhouse in the area.
Todd Schurz, the fifth generation of his family to manage the Mishawaka-based company, said newspapers and cable provide a foundation for growth, and Schurz Communications will continue primarily to be a media company.
He said the publishing and cable arms of his company share a similar drive to find new ways to appeal to subscribers and members, instead of just relying on advertising.
Schurz Communications’ annual revenue has almost tripled over the past 25 years, he said, but the main driver of that revenue has changed.
In 1990 publishing drove about 60 percent of revenue. In the new Schurz Communications – consisting of the company’s 16 newspapers and four cable companies – about 60 percent of the revenue is from cable, which is feeding the growing demand for broadband Internet access.
Schurz is also an investor in South Bend-based technology firms Aunalytics and Data Realty.
– South Bend Tribune