Par scoops up WB affil WNDY

Paramount’s TV station buying spree touched down in the top 25 market of Indianapolis last week.

Par Stations Group said Friday it has struck a deal with Wabash Valley Broadcast Corp. to purchase WB Network affil WNDY-TV Indianapolis, the nation’s 25th-largest TV market. Par, a part-owner of WB Network’s arch-rival netlet UPN, will most likely switch the station’s affiliation to UPN as soon as possible.

WB Network officials could not be reached for comment late Friday, and it was unclear if the WB has a backup plan for securing an affiliate in Indianapolis. The situation in Indianapolis underscores the intense competition between UPN and the WB for affiliates, a war that has increased the value of many UHF stations in the top 100 TV markets.

At present, UPN’s Indianapolis affil is WTTV-TV, owned by Sinclair Communications. Sinclair and UPN are embroiled in a legal dispute over Sinclair’s recent decision to switch five of its other major-market outlets, including stations in Pittsburgh and Baltimore, from UPN to the WB fold early next year.

Over the past 12 months, Par has scooped up more than half a dozen top-50 market stations in an effort to solidify UPN’s long-term distribution prospects. Financial terms of the WNDY deal were not disclosed. Wabash Valley Broadcast Corp. purchased the station for $10 million in late 1994.

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