Metromedia, Inc.
Type Public and private
Industry Media
Fate Reorganization into MetroMedia Technologies [1]
Founded 1956 as Metropolitan Broadcasting Corp.
Headquarters New York City
Area served Flag of the United States.svg United States
Key people John W. Kluge, founder/chairman/CEO
Products television, radio, entertainment, advertising
Parent Metromedia

Metromedia (also often MetroMedia) was a media company that owned radio and television stations in the United States from 1956 to 1986 and owned Orion Pictures from 1986-1997.



The company arose from the ashes of the DuMont Television Network, the world's first commercial television network.[1] By 1955, DuMont realized it could not compete against CBS, NBC and a revived ABC, and decided to shut down network operations. Soon after DuMont formally shut down network operations in 1956, it spun off its two remaining owned and operated stations, WABD in New York City and WTTG in Washington, D.C., to shareholders as the DuMont Broadcasting Corporation. The company's headquarters were co-located with WABD in the former DuMont Tele-Centre (which was later renamed the Metromedia Telecenter) in New York.

In 1957, DuMont Broadcasting purchased two New York area radio stations, WNEW (now WBBR) and WHFI (later WNEW-FM and WWFS), and later that year changed its name to the Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation to distance itself from its former parent company. The following year Paramount Pictures, an indirect player in the failure of the DuMont network, sold its shares in Metropolitan Broadcasting to Washington-based investor John Kluge, who became the company's chairman and later gained a 75-percent controlling interest. WABD's call letters were later changed to WNEW-TV to match its new radio sisters.

Metropolitan's first acquisitions under Kluge included WHK-AM-FM in Cleveland (in 1958); KOVR in Stockton, California, WTVH-TV (now WHOI) in Peoria, Illinois, and the Foster & Kleiser outdoor advertising firm[2] (all in 1959); and WIP-AM-FM in Philadelphia and WTVP television (now WAND) in Decatur, Illinois (both in 1960). In 1961, Kluge changed the company's name to Metromedia. However, the Metropolitan Broadcasting name was retained for its broadcasting division until 1967.[3]

1970s logo for WTCN-TV (now KARE) in Minneapolis, which included the corporate logo for Metromedia; this logo was also used by KTTV in Los Angeles

Also in 1961, Metromedia purchased KMBC-AM-TV and KMBR-FM in Kansas City, Missouri. In separate 1963 deals the company expanded into Los Angeles, buying first KTTV, and later KLAC and KLAC-FM (later KMET and now KTWV). Metromedia also entered the realm of live entertainment by purchasing the Ice Capades (in 1963) and the Harlem Globetrotters (in 1967).[4][5] Later in the decade Metromedia opened a television production center in Los Angeles, known as Metromedia Square, which served as the studio facility for numerous network programs. Metromedia also owned a TV production and distribution company called Metromedia Producers Corporation (MPC), established in 1968 from Wolper Productions. MPC produced and syndicated various programs and TV movies, most notably the game show Truth or Consequences and the 1972-86 version of The Merv Griffin Show. Metromedia spent the 1970s and the first half of the 1980s increasing its television and radio station portfolio, and continued to expand its syndication business.

Metromedia entered the record business in 1969 when they launched the Metromedia Records label, whose biggest-selling artist was Bobby Sherman. The label was also notable as having issued the first two studio albums of Peter Allen, Peter Allen (1971) and Tenterfield Saddler (1972).[6] The label was closed as of 1974. Allen's Tenterfield Saddler, the title song of which has become an Australian standard, was acquired and reissued by A&M Records in 1978.[7]

In 1982, Metromedia made its biggest broadcasting purchase when it acquired WCVB-TV in Boston for $220 million, which at the time was the largest amount ever spent on a single television station property.[8] Two years later, John Kluge bought out Metromedia's shareholders and took the company private.[9]

On May 6, 1985, Kluge announced the sale of Metromedia's television stations, and Metromedia Producers Corp., to the News Corporation (owned by Australian newspaper publisher Rupert Murdoch) and 20th Century Fox Film Corporation (owned jointly by Murdoch and Marvin Davis) for $3.5 billion. With the exception of WCVB-TV (which was subsequently sold to the Hearst Corporation), all of the former Metromedia stations formed the nucleus of the Fox Broadcasting Company, while MPC was folded into 20th Century Fox Television. The transactions became official on March 6, 1986.[10] Kluge also sold Metromedia's outdoor advertising firm, the Harlem Globetrotters, and the Ice Capades in that same year, and spun off the radio stations into a separate company (which ironically took on the Metropolitan Broadcasting name) before they were sold to various other owners by the early 1990s.[11][12][13]

In retaliation for a lawsuit brought by Paul Winchell, who sought the rights to his children's television program, "Winchell-Mahoney Time," Metromedia management destroyed the video tapes. Mr. Winchell was later awarded nearly $18 million as compensation for Metromedia's capricious behavior.

The Metromedia name has lived on in other projects by Kluge such as the Metromedia Restaurant Group, though the ventures have been largely unrelated to television, and the former WIP-FM radio station in Philadelphia, which now bears the call sign WMMR, standing for Metromedia Radio. When Kluge bought into Major League Soccer in 1995, the club he operated was named MetroStars (now New York Red Bulls) after his company.

In early 2011 abandoned trademarks were registered with the US Department of Commerce by a midwestern businessman, combined with a large collection of the WNEW 1130 AM archive library: old shows, concerts and jingle packs, a new "Metromedia Radio" is now broadcasting on internet radio Metromedia Radio now broadcasts licensed music from BMI, ASCAP and SESAC consistent with the station that discovered Frank Sinatra.

Based on the common link to Metromedia, television historian Clarke Ingram claims that Fox is a direct descendant, if not a revival, of DuMont. Indeed, the former WNEW-TV, now Fox flagship WNYW, is still headquartered in the former Metromedia (and before that, DuMont) Telecenter, then known as the Fox Television Center.

Ownership of Orion Pictures

On May 22, 1986, Metromedia acquired a 6.5% stake in Orion Pictures Corporation; a movie and television production company.[14] By December, the stake in Orion's ownership was increased to 9.3% to 12.6% and on April 12, 1988, to 44.1%[15] On May 20, 1988, Metromedia acquired Sumner Redstone's share for $78 million, holding a majority stake in Orion Pictures worth nearly 67%. In 1996, Metromedia acquired Motion Picture Corporation of America and The Samuel Goldwyn Company. On April 11, 1997, Metromedia sold Orion/Goldwyn and MPCA to MGM for $573 million and was closed on July 10 of the same year.[16][17] In 1998, MPCA broke apart of MGM becoming independent again.


Beginning in 1967, Metromedia's television stations began utilizing a sans-serif font for their on-air logo. The typeface was a proprietary font called Metromedia Television Alphabet,[3] which was as distinctive as the typeface employed by Group W for its TV and radio stations beginning in 1963. Metromedia Television Alphabet was used for the channel numbers of its television stations until 1977, when another typeface modeled slightly after the Futura family was introduced.

Former Metromedia stations

Television stations

Stations are listed alphabetically by state and city of license.

Note: two boldface asterisks appearing following a station's call letters (**) indicate a station that was built and signed-on by the DuMont Television Network (ancestor of Metromedia).

City of license/Market Station Channel Years owned Current affiliation and ownership
Los Angeles KTTV 11 1963–1986 Fox owned-and-operated (O&O)
San Francisco - Oakland - San Jose KNEW-TV
(now KMTP-TV)
32 1968–1970 Non-commercial independent
owned by Minority Television Project
Stockton - Sacramento, CA KOVR 13 1959–1964 CBS owned-and-operated (O&O)
Washington, D.C. WTTG** 5 1956–1986 Fox owned-and-operated (O&O)
Chicago WFLD-TV 32 1983–1986 Fox owned-and-operated (O&O)
Decatur - Springfield -
Champaign - Urbana, IL
(now WAND)
17 1960–1965 NBC affiliate owned by Block Communications
Peoria - Bloomington, IL WTVH-TV
(now WHOI)
19 1959–1965 ABC affiliate owned by Barrington Broadcasting
(operated under JSA and SSA by Granite Broadcasting)
Newport, KY - Cincinnati WXIX-TV 19 1972–1983 Fox affiliate owned by Raycom Media
Boston WCVB-TV 5 1982–1986 ABC affiliate owned by Hearst Television
Minneapolis - St. Paul WTCN-TV1
(now KARE)
11 1972–1983 NBC affiliate owned by Gannett Company
Kansas City, Missouri KMBC-TV 9 1961–1982 ABC affiliate owned by Hearst Television
New York City WABD/WNEW-TV**
(now WNYW)
5 1956–1986 Fox owned-and-operated (O&O)
Dallas - Fort Worth KRLD-TV
(now KDAF)
33 1983–1986 The CW affiliate owned by Tribune Company
Houston KRIV-TV 26 1978–1986 Fox owned-and-operated (O&O)

1: WTCN was the only independent station to gain a "Big Three" network affiliation (NBC) under Metromedia's ownership.

This list does not include WDTV, channel 3 (and later channel 2, now CBS O&O KDKA-TV), in Pittsburgh or KCTY, channel 25, in Kansas City, Missouri. Although DuMont owned the two stations at some point, Metromedia never owned either of these two stations.

Metromedia (as Metropolitan Broadcasting) also held a construction permit for WHK-TV, channel 19, in Cleveland, Ohio in the late 1950s, but that station never signed on. The channel 19 allocation is now occupied by WOIO, which was under common ownership with WHK radio for a few years.

Radio stations

AM Stations FM Stations
DMA# Market Station Current Ownership
1. New York City WNEW-FM-102.7
(now WWFS)
CBS Radio
(now WBBR)
Bloomberg L.P.
2. Los Angeles KLAC-FM/KMET-94.7
(now KTWV)
CBS Radio
KLAC-570 Clear Channel Communications
3. Chicago WMET-95.5
(now WNUA)
Clear Channel Communications
4. San Francisco KSAN-FM-94.9
(now KYLD)
Clear Channel Communications
KNEW-910 Clear Channel Communications
5. Dallas - Fort Worth KAFM-92.5
(now KZPS)
Clear Channel Communications
KRLD-1080 CBS Radio
7. Philadelphia WIP-FM/WMMR-93.3 Greater Media
WIP-610 CBS Radio
9. Washington, D.C. WASH-97.1 Clear Channel Communications
11. Detroit WOMC-104.3 CBS Radio
14. Seattle - Tacoma KJR-950 Clear Channel Communications
19. Tampa - St. Petersburg - Clearwater WWBA-FM-107.3
(now WXGL)
Cox Enterprises
(now WGES)
ZGS Communications
21. Baltimore WCBM-FM-106.5
(now WWMX)
CBS Radio
WCBM-680 WCBM Maryland Inc.
22. Denver - Boulder KHOW-630 Clear Channel Communications
28. Cleveland WHK-FM/WMMS-100.7 Clear Channel Communications
(operated as WCLV from 2001 to 2003,
and WRMR from 2003 to 2004)
Salem Communications
32. Kansas City, Missouri KMBC-FM-99.7
(now KZPT)
Entercom Communications
(now KMBZ)
Entercom Communications

TV series produced and/or distributed by MPC

* -- MPC was the international distributor for these programs. Distribution was later transferred to 20th Century Fox Television, following Murdoch's acquisition of MPC. These programs ane now distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures Television. In the United States, Sony Pictures Television and its predecessor, Columbia Pictures Television, was always the distributor of syndicated repeats of these programs.


  1. ^ Goldenson, Leonard H.; Wolf, Marvin J. (1991). Beating the Odds. New York: Macmillan. p. 105. 
  2. ^ Spielvogel, Carl. "Advertising: an acquisition set." The New York Times, Dec. 20, 1959.
  3. ^ a b "Metromedia Gets Its TV Team in Uniform; Restyles Its Look with New Graphics Discipline." (PDF) Broadcasting magazine, March 25, 1968, pp. 56-57.
  4. ^ "Ice Capades Acquired By Metromedia, Inc." The New York Times, May 14, 1963.
  5. ^ Gent, George. "Metromedia buys Globetrotters; TV chain will add team to Ice Capades operation." The New York Times, May 24, 1967.
  6. ^ Peter Allen discography;
  7. ^ Peter Allen discography;
  8. ^ Schwartz, Tony. "Metromedia seeks TV station." The New York Times, July 23, 1981.
  9. ^ Cuff, Daniel F. "Business people; Metromedia's founder begins new challenge." The New York Times, Dec. 14, 1983.
  10. ^ Cole, Robert J.. "Murdoch to buy & TV stations; cost $2 billion." The New York Times, May 7, 1985.
  11. ^ Stevenson, Richard W. "Metromedia ad business sale". The New York Times, Jan. 21, 1986.
  12. ^ Fabrikant, Geraldine. "Metromedia set to sell Globetrotters, ice show." The New York Times, Mar. 5, 1986.
  13. ^ "Metromedia sells 9 radio stations." Associated Press, Nov. 20, 1986.
  14. ^ Metromedia's Orion Stake,
  15. ^ Metromedia's Orion Stake,
  16. ^ Bates, James. "Metromedia to Sell Film Units to MGM for $573 million." The New York Times. April 29, 1997.
  17. ^ "Years of Hits, Misses Comes to Close." Daily News of Los Angeles. July 10, 1997; Bates, James. "MGM Lays Off 85 in Metromedia Film, TV Units." Los Angeles Times. July 11, 1997.

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