Raycom Media, Inc. was an American television broadcasting company based in Montgomery, Alabama. Raycom owned and/or provided services for 65 television stations and two radio stations across 44 markets in 20 states. Raycom, through its Community Newspaper Holdings subsidiary, also owned multiple newspapers in small and medium-sized markets throughout the United States.
Raycom’s three founding owners were Stephen Burr (a Boston lawyer), Ken Hawkins (general manager) and William Zortman (news director) with funding from Retirement Systems of Alabama. In the 1996, Raycom purchased 15 television and two radio stations and Bert Ellis’s Raycom Sports from Ellis Communications for over $700 million. In mid-1996, the company agreed to purchase eight stations from Federal Enterprises Inc. of suburban Detroit for $160 million. Raycom bought Aflac’s broadcast division of five TV stations in August 1996, using, in part, a loan from the RSA. The three groups merged to form Raycom Media. John Hayes initially headed up the company until 2001.
In 1998, Raycom took a 35% stake in Worldnow, an internet publishing provider for broadcast media. That same year, Raycom purchased Malrite Communications, owner of five stations, two Puerto Rico stations, three Ohio stations, and one Florida station. In 2001, Paul McTear took over as Raycom’s president and CEO from Hayes.
On June 25, 2018, Gray Television announced its intent to acquire Raycom for $3.65 billion, pending regulatory approval. The combined company would be led by Raycom’s current president and CEO Pat LaPlatney, with current Gray CEO Hilton Howell acting as executive chairman and co-CEO. The acquisition, which Gray expected to close in late 2018, would give Gray 142 stations in 92 markets, making Gray the third-largest owner of television stations in the United States, with a total market share of 24%. CNHI, which was sold separately, was not included in the sale to Gray. The sale was approved by the FCC on December 20. The deal was completed on January 2, 2019.
Prior to its merger with Gray, Raycom owned and/or operated 65 television stations and two radio stations in 44 markets located in 20 states, covering over 16% of U.S. television households. Raycom also employed more than 4,800 individuals in full- and part-time positions.
Tupelo Raycom is Raycom Media’s production company formed from the merger of Tupelo Honey Productions and WebStream Sports. Clients of the company include NBC, CBS, ESPN, Turner Sports, Fox, Travel Channel, Bounce TV, and Live Nation.
Raycom acquired the assets of live and studio sports programming production company Tupelo-Honey Productions in January 2012. Tupelo Honey’s assets included a 50% share of MY Tupelo Entertainment, a joint venture form in 2009 as a partnership between Cary Glotzer’s Tupelo-Honey and Michael Yudin’s MY-Entertainment Company. Yudin bought back Raycom’s half of My Tupelo in March 2014.
Raycom acquired Indianapolis, Indiana-based sports production company WebStream Sports on September 14, 2015. WebStream was subsequently merged with existing Raycom entity Tupelo Honey to form Tupelo Raycom in January 2016.