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Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation - Lehman Brothers Collection

Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation

List of Deals

The Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation originated as Du Mont Broadcasting Corporation, a subsidiary of Allen B. Du Mont Laboratories, Inc. Allen Du Mont founded Du Mont Laboratories, an electronics company, in 1931. Du Mont was a pioneer of electronic television manufacturing, releasing his first model in 1938. Du Mont began running an experimental television station in 1940; by 1945 his company was attempting to make television a successful commercial venture.

Du Mont Broadcasting was incorporated in 1955. The company began purchasing and operating radio and television stations immediately, as part of the Du Mont Laboratories television and radio businesses. Du Mont Laboratories transferred its television-related businesses to Du Mont Broadcasting in exchange for stock in 1955. The transferred businesses included the television stations WABD (later renamed WNEW-TV) in New York and WTTG in Washington, D.C. In 1957 Du Mont Broadcasting bought all the remaining outstanding stock of WNEW and began operating the station itself.

Du Mont Broadcasting was renamed Metropolitan Broadcasting in 1958. That year, Metropolitan acquired the Cleveland radio station WHK-AM and -FM from Forest City Publishing Co. Metropolitan ran the radio station directly after that point. In 1959 Metropolitan bought additional television and radio stations: WTVH Television of Peoria, Illinois and WIP-AM and -FM Radio of Philadelphia. It also acquired supermajority stock ownership of Television Diablo, Inc., a Sacramento, California, company that ran the television station KOVR.

Metropolitan bought Foster & Kleiser, a subsidiary of W.R. Grace & Co., in 1959. Foster & Kleiser focused on presenting outdoor advertising, especially on billboards, with a focus on California, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona. Since Metropolitan gained revenues from advertising sales on television and radio, the Foster & Kleiser purchase was designed to improve the company’s grasp on advertising and to diversify its business.

Metropolitan issued debentures through Kuhn, Loeb & Co. in 1960. The company sought financing to buy additional television and radio stations and to fund debt obligations. Metropolitan accounted for each of its businesses separately, and a breakdown of their finances appears in the deal book of 1960. Metropolitan was not very successful in the late 1950s, and its stock sank.

Metropolitan Broadcasting was renamed Metromedia in 1961 after John Kluge gained control of the company’s shares. Portions of Metropolitan and Metromedia businesses later became part of Fox Network, General Electric (GE), International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT), and many other large media-related corporations.

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