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The Niagara Falls Review - Saturday, July 26th, 2003

Television Niagara Announces Investors

By Lindsay Satterthwaite
Review Staff Writer

Niagara Falls - A Hamilton-based entrepreneur has 10 million reasons to believe local television in the Niagara region will be successful.

"We believe in Niagara and we believe the Niagara peninsula is ill-served as far as TV signal is concerned," said business entrepreneur Charles Juravinski, one of 10 investors fronting $10 million for the inaugural Niagara-based television station announced Friday.

Juravinski, a Hamilton resident, is the chairman of the board and largest controlling shareholder of Television Niagara, owning more than 50 per cent of the company.

"To be in a position to be on the cutting edge of something like this really titillated and excited me," said Juravinski, who owned and operated Flamboro Downs racetrack for 31 years before selling to magna Entertainment in April.

Page 2 TV station plans for 40 hours of local programs

"The money is in the bank. From here on in, it's straight bureaucratic handling of our application to become part of the system," said Wendell Wilks, CEO of Television Niagara. "But this is an essential step in the process."

The station will boast 40 hours a week of local programming, with a heavy emphasis on local news, kicking off the day with Niagara Today morning talk show, a local lunchtime newscast, and news shows at 6 and 10 p.m.

Other investors include Jana and Michael Katz, and Ashak Merani of Niagara Falls, and Terry O'Malley and Paul Herriott of St. Catharines.

The remaining investor's names have not been released yet.

With more than 70 per cent of the television stations in Canada owned by five companies, Wilks made a deliberate effort to have investors who have no other affiliation with the broadcast media.

"We're trying to end a concentration in ownership," he said.

But Wilks is at least hoping to benefit from the major corporation's bare bones approach to business, and he is hoping to translate CH layoffs - 37 last year - into his success by capturing viewers, advertisers and former workers from the Hamilton station.

With $10 million in equity, and having secured studio and transmitter locations in Niagara Falls, Welland, St. Catharines, and Beamsville, the company is now preparing for the final stages of consideration. The Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission, the government body that licenses TV and radio stations, is now in control of the situation, he said.

Public hearings will also be held, with at least one in the Niagara region, where residents will have an opportunity to speak about the station.

An additional $5 million in bank credits is necessary to start up the project, and Wilks has budgeted $12 million per year in operation expenses. A profit could be turned as early as the end of the third year, he said.

Listen to TVN's CEO Wendell Wilks on a radio interview from CHSC.
A terrific interview in MP3 format, which you can stream from our site or download in four segments.

To download these files, please RIGHT-CLICK on the link and select "Save Target As" to save the MP3 files onto your computer.
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