A New York hedge fund has filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission asking to convert stock warrants it holds in New Young Broadcasting, the post-bankruptcy parent of Nashville's ABC affiliate, WKRN News2. The planned move by Standard General would give it more than 50 percent of New Young, which owns stations in 11 cities around the country.
Saying that Tennessee Court of Appeals judges appear to have misinterpreted several aspects of the law, attorneys for NewsChannel 5 and reporter Phil Williams are appealing the court's ruling that Williams may have presented General Sessions Judge Dan Eisenstein in a false light. The court, says Neal & Harwell's Ronald Harris, overlooked a key point in making its decision.
The filing claims that case law and U.S. Court of Appeals rulings have determined that a false statement is an “essential element” of false light. The petition also accuses the Court of Appeals decision of “conflicting with constitutional rights,” including freedom of speech.
The Tennessee Court of Appeals on Wednesday ruled that NewsChannel 5 investigative reporter Phil Williams may have painted General Session Judge Dan Eisenstein in a false light in a 2010 story questioning the hiring of an unlicensed psychologist for Mental Health Court. But, writes Pierce Greenberg, the court said Williams did not libel Eisenstein in his reporting. The false-light claims will be resolved in Davidson County Circuit Court. Check out the full opinion here.
The Court of Appeals also singled out Williams’ style of reporting. After receiving a “no comment” from Eisenstein on the way to his car, Williams said in the broadcast that Eisenstein “Still ... had nothing to say.” Eisenstein maintained that he released statements through his lawyer, which were also used in the broadcast.
Television station operator Young Broadcasting, which owns WKRN News2 and is run by that station's former GM Deb McDermott, has promoted Bob Peterson to vice president of station operations and relocated him to Nashville. Peterson had been Young's VP of business development and GM of its station in Richmond, Va.
Time Warner Cable and Meredith Corp., the parent of WSMV Channel 4, appear to be closing in on a retransmission agreement that will keep Meredith stations on Time Warner's service in three markets. The two sides had been far apart earlier in the week.
Time Warner Cable customers will not be able to watch Channel 4 starting at midnight tonight unless the telecommunications company and WSMV parent Meredith Corp. strike a deal on retransmission rights. The parties still sound like they are far apart, with Time Warner saying Meredith is asking for a 200 percent rate hike.