WBOC owner Draper Media and SagamoreHill of Salisbury Licenses, LLC announced that they have entered into a purchase agreement for WRDE-LD, an NBC affiliate serving the Delmarva Peninsula as Coast TV.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
WRDE has its studios and transmitter in the Lewes area.
“We’re looking forward to bringing more local news, weather and community information to viewers here on Delmarva,” says Molly Draper Russell, CEO of Draper Holdings Business Trust, parent company of Draper Media. “Coast TV’s NBC lineup reinforces our commitment to serving the Delmarva Peninsula with the absolute best information, entertainment and sports programming available. Our family’s history of service through free over-the-air broadcasting goes back more than half a century. Along with my sister and brothers we are proud to carry on the legacy of our late father, and company founder, Thomas H. Draper, who was fond of saying we have a moral obligation to serve Delmarva.”
“WBOC is unquestionably one of the great stations in America,” says Louis Wall, president of SagamoreHill Broadcasting Corporation. “Tom Draper built what all true broadcasters strive for, a well-resourced television station that could stand up against the competition in a market of any size. The union of Coast TV with WBOC will serve the viewers of the Delmarva Peninsula better than ever. We are delighted with this agreement and the prospects it holds for the station’s future.”
“I began my Delmarva broadcasting career at WBOC so, I am very pleased, and it seems fitting, that WRDE and I rejoin the WBOC family, says Bob Backman, president of WRDE-TV.
Draper Media, based in Salisbury, consists of WBOC-TV, FOX21, Telemundo Delmarva, Antenna TV, WBOC Digital, WBOC-FM, WAAI-FM, WTDK-FM, WCEM-FM and WCEM-AM with satellite offices in Cambridge, MD, Dover and Milton, DE.
The transfer of ownership is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018 subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission.
Draper has been expanding in recent years, picking up radio stations on Delmarva and adding Telemundo. The purchase would give Draper three of the four major networks on the peninsula.
The ABC affiliate in Salisbury, MD is separately owned.
WBOC has invested heavily in its local news programming and even operates a news helicopter. Its territory includes Delaware south of the C&D Canal. Areas north of the canal are part of the Philadelphia market.
The Draper family has real estate holdings on Delmarva and one family member is a co-founder of Milton-based Dogfish Head, the nation’s 12th largest craft brewer.
WRDE Coast TV went on the air in 2014. (See link to earlier Delaware Business Now story below).