a media industry resource


This page looks at LIN TV Corporation of the US.

It covers -

  • overview
  • LIN Broadcasting
  • the LIN TV group
  • holdings
  • studies
  • chronology


Providence-based LIN TV Corporation operates 23 US television stations and has investments in five other stations. It traces its origins to the LIN Broadcasting Corporation, a minor media conglomerate disassembled in the 1980s and 1990s.

Its corporate site is here.

LIN Broadcasting

LIN TV Corporation originated as LIN Broadcasting Corporation in the mid 1960s. LIN Broadcasting was a minor conglomerate, assembled on an opportunistic basis and encompassing radio and television broadcasting, direct marketing, 'information and learning', music publishing and record labels. The name derived from Louisville, Indianapolis and Nashville, the three locations of its initial radio stations.

It expanded into paging services and then in the early 1980s entered the mobile (ie cellular) phone industry. By 1983 it owned seven television stations. In 1985 it also owned and managed mobile phone licenses serving New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas and Houston. In 1986 it sold the paging operations and six of its radio stations to fund development of the cellular business.

In 1990 McCaw Cellular Communications acquired a 52% interest in LIN Broadcasting in a hostile takeover, following an unsuccessful bid by BellSouth. McCaw was in turn acquired by AT&T in 1994 for US$11.5 billion. At that time phone services accounted for 79% of LIN's revenue; the company had never made a profit after taxes. Founder and CEO Donald Pels reportedly earned US$186m in 1990.

The LIN TV group

The television operations of LIN Broadcasting were then spun off as LIN Television Corporation, a public company on the Nasdaq stock market. It was 45% owned by AT&T (which subsequently acquired the rest of LIN Broadcasting).

LIN TV at that time owned and/or operated 12 stations. It acquired WIVB-TV in Buffalo.

In 1998 LIN TV was acquired by junkbond financiers Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst (HMTF) for US$1.9 billion after a bid by Raycom. HMTF controlled the Capstar radio station chain that became AMFM Inc and was subsequently absorbed by Clear Channel.


Wholly-owned stations include -

Indianapolis, IN


Hartford-New Haven,CT


Grand Rapids Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, MI


Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, VA


Buffalo, NY


Austin, TX


Fort Wayne, IN


Springfield-Holyoke, MA


Lafayette, IN


San Juan, PR


Providence/New Bedford, MA

  • Dayton, OH
  • Toledo, OH

LIN has a 50% non-voting equity interest in minority-controlled Banks Broadcasting, which owns and operates KWCV-TV (Wichita) and KNIN-TV (Boise). LIN provides services under a joint sales agreement to Paxson's WZPX-TV (Grand Rapids) and WPXV-TV (Norfolk). It has a 20% equity interest in a television station joint venture with NBC for KXAS-TV (Dallas NBC affiliate) and KNSD-TV (San Diego NBC affiliate). It has 33.3% of Block-controlled WAND-TV (Champaign, Springfield, Decatur).


There have been no major studies of LIN Broadcasting or LIN TV.

For McCaw and AT&T see Money from Thin Air: The Story of Craig McCaw, the Visionary who Invented the Cell Phone Industry, and His Next Billion-Dollar Idea (New York: Crown 2000) by O Casey Corr and works cited on the AT&T, Liberty and Metromedia profiles elsewhere on this site.


1948 WTNH founded

1949 WOOD-TV founded as WLAV-TV

1957 WLAV-TV acquired by Time

1962 KTHS (later KAAY) radio acquired by Lin Broadcasting Corporation

1962 buys KEEL Shreveport

1967 pays US$7.5m for KILT radio Houston

1968 LIN Broadcasting buys WAVY-AM and WAVY-TV

1968 buys King Starday Records for US$5m

1971 sells James Brown music catalogue to Polydor

1971 sells King Starday to Leiber & Stoller's Tennessee Recording & Publishing

1974 buys KXAS Fort Worth from Amon Carter Publications for US$35m

1975 sells KAAY to Multimedia

1976 buys WPBS (later WUSL) radio Philadelphia

1979 buys KTVV-TV (later KXAN) from Kingstip Communications

1983 buys WOOD-TV

1986 LIN Broadcasting sells paging operations

1986 LIN Broadcasting sells six of its radio stations

1990 McCaw Cellular Communications acquires 52% interest in LIN Broadcasting

1991 LIN Broadcasting takes stake in Radio Satellite Corp with Hughes

1994 McCaw acquired by AT&T for US$11.5bn

1994 LIN broadcasting stations spun off as LIN TV

1995 AT&T acquires rest of LIN Broadcasting

1998 Lin TV acquired by Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst for US$1.9bn

1999 acquires WOOD-TV Grand Rapids

1999 LIN establishes Banks Broadcasting, minority-owned tv broadcaster (KWCV-TV Wichita and KNIN-TV Boise) in which it has a 50% interest

1999 buys WAPA-TV in San Juan, Puerto Rico

2000 acquires WLFI-TV Lafayette from Block in exchange for 66% of WAND-TV (Champaign, Springfield, Decatur)

2000 buys WWLP-TV Springfield

2001 buys WJPX-TV and two satellite facilities in Puerto Rico

2001 buys WNLO-TV Buffalo (formerly WIVB) for US$25m

2002 buys WOTV-TV Battle Creek and WVBT-TV Norfolk

2002 agrees to acquire seven stations in six markets from STC Broadcasting (formerly HMTF-controlled Sunrise Television), inc WDTN-TV Dayton, WEYI-TV and WUPW-TV

2002 IPO on the New York Stock Exchange

2002 sells KRBC TV Abilene and KACB TV San Angelo to Mission Broadcasting

2005 buys WNDY-TV Indianapolis and WWHO-TV Columbus from Viacom

2005 announces agreement to purchase WALA-TV and WBPG-TV (Mobile), WTHI-TV (Terre Haute), WLUK-TV (Green Bay) and KRQE-TV (Albuquerque) from Emmis for US$260m