09.22.2009 01:00 PM
Henry Luken Plans More Diginets
The purveyor of Retro TV Network is planning to launch more diginets. Henry
Luken, who bought RTV (formerly RTN) out of Equity Media’s bankruptcy, is
looking to start three more networks targeted for multicast carriage, according
to an interview in BusinessTN. One is
a second version of RTV, which runs old sitcoms like “McHale’s Navy,” “Leave it
to Beaver,” and “I Spy.” Another net, PBJ, would cater to children, and a
third, Tuff TV, would carry sports programming.
Luken told BusinessTN that he
believes he’ll be able to “pull budget-minded viewers away from paid content”
with new over-the-air fare. “A year from now, you should have 25 to 30
different sets of content on the air in a market the size of Chattanooga,” he
said. “There’s an awful lot of people who could watch 25 channels and be
perfectly happy, instead of paying 60 bucks a month for basic cable.”
He said he hopes to launch as many as 10 networks from RTV’s facilities.
Luken’s entree into the broadcast business came with his association with
Equity Media as a shareholder and board member, then CEO when the Little Rock,
Ark., company reeled toward bankruptcy. Luken bought the Retro TV Network from
Equity for $18.5 million in June, 2008. A subsequent conflict with Equity led
to the network’s distribution being dropped from its central hub in Little
Rock. BusinesTN said the rebranded
RTV covered 80 percent of the U.S. by the June digital transition.
More on RTV, Luken and Equity:
“Back from Basic,” at BusinessTN
April 17, 2009: “Equity Media
Asset Auction Held”
The bidding for Equity Media’s broadcast assets ended yesterday, and most of
the company’s 19 full-power and 85 low-power TV stations received winning bids.
Bids ranged from around $50,000 up to $1.5 million.
June 26, 2008: “Equity Media
Completes $18.5 Million Sale of RTN”
Equity Media Holdings, (NASDAQ: EMDA) has completed the sale of its Retro TV
network to a group created by the company’s largest shareholder and its former
CEO. Luken Communications, led by Henry Luken III, purchased RTN for $18.5
million in cash.