The expected hammer dropped yesterday. Arkansas Business reports that Mission Broadcasting closed its purchase of Fox 16 and KASN-38 in Little Rock yesterday. As he'd expected, Chuck Spohn is working his last day as general manager at Fox 16. He'd already been seeking new opportunities, as the saying goes.
The key news here is that Mission will operate these stations in a joint agreement with Nexstar and its Little Rock stations, KARK-4 and KARZ-42. No details have been released yet, but the expectation has long been that KARK, branded as Arkansas Matters, would become the dominant member of the partnership, including in local news. Some news presence will continue on all the stations, but the likelihood of both Fox 16 and KARK continuing with full-bore news operations seems remote. Spohn told AB he had no information about further job changes and reductions.
Less is less. As a news reporter/aggregator/commentator in a community where the dominant print outlet is behind a paywall, I appreciate how much TV stations add to the daily diet of news consumers. Little Rock has been lucky to have four full TV news operation (KATV and KTHV continue, of course), plus the public affairs offerings of AETN. Any decrease in that as a result of the new combine is to be regretted.