Longtime WPEC anchor Curt Fonger is leaving the station after 22 years, reports the Palm Beach Post. We can report that Fonger chose to walk after they offered him a contract renewal for “significantly” less money. Curt Fonger has been with WPEC since 1989 when joined from WTVX after that station shut down its news department and laid him and other staff off.
Curt Fonger’s reduced contract offer though may be a signal for what will go down in the months and years ahead as WPEC’s parent company Freedom Communications seeks to sell that station and the rest of its assets which also include newspapers. Freedom came out of bankruptcy last year with new owners who also happen to be its creditors, they forgave the company $700 million out of more than a billion of its debt obligations!
The new owners include JP Morgan Chase Capital and a secretive hedge fund, Alden Global Capital, that specializes in buying distressed media companies. The hedge fund has so far invested in several media groups, including distressed Tribune, Poynter’s Rick Edmonds points out their goal is to make changes at the companies and then sell them for profit, which could take 3 to 5 years. WPEC and the rest of Freedom Communications’ properties have been up for sale since late 2010.
Curt Fonger’s last day at WPEC is tomorrow