Pappas Telecasting

Pappas Telecasting Companies was a diversely organized broadcasting company headquartered in Visalia, California, United States. Founded in 1971, it was one of the largest privately held broadcasting companies in the country, with its stations reaching over 15% of all U.S. households and over 32% of Hispanic households. Apart from owning and/or operating many television stations, the company formerly had two radio stations in its possession, KTRB AM 860 and KMPH-AM 840—changed from KPMP in June 2006 to reflect its nearby sister/flagship television station, Fox affiliate KMPH-TV, both in Fresno, California.

On May 10, 2008, thirteen of Pappas’ stations filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. Pappas cited “the extremely difficult business climate for television stations across the country” in papers filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware. The company reported in court filings that it had more than $536 million in debt and $460 million in assets. Problems that led to the bankruptcy included a poor performance of The CW network, its now-former involvement with Azteca America, and preparations for the 2009 analog shutdown. Stations involved in the bankruptcy were KMPH-TV, KFRE-TV, KPTM, KXVO, WCWG, KPTH, KMEG, KTNC-TV, KAZH, KDBC-TV, KREN-TV, KAZR-CA and KCWK. It was later ordered on September 10, 2008, that the affected stations must be sold off by February 15, 2009. Its other stations, and the corporation itself, were not part of the bankruptcy.

On May 14, 2008, company founder Harry J. Pappas filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy at the Delaware court, where a judge could order his personal assets sold to pay off creditors. On May 27, 2008, KCWK in Walla Walla, Washington (in the Yakima, Washington television market) ceased operations as a result of the bankruptcy.

On September 17, 2008, bankruptcy trustee E. Roger Williams put KREN and its repeaters under contract to Entravision Communications for $4 million, which would double as a minimum bid for the station as it goes up for auction in late October.

On December 17, 2008, New World TV Group (later renamed, Titan TV Broadcast Group; unrelated to New World Communications) agreed to acquire the remaining Pappas stations involved in the bankruptcy filing. The sale was approved by the United States bankruptcy court on January 16, 2009. The remaining stations that weren’t involved in the initial bankruptcy filing were later placed in a liquidating trust in December 2011.

KMPH Radio ceased operations on September 1, 2010, due to lack of revenue. Two weeks later, KTRB went into receivership with Comerica Bank, under license from KTRB Trust. This marked the end of the Pappas era.

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