Dallas is known for many things: Big Tex, Tex-mex and TEX-TV?
Addison-based London Broadcasting Company Inc. is working to become a distinct part of the Texas landscape, not only for its numerous television stations across the state, but also for its newly acquired independent station, KTXD-TV.
Don’t let the name fool you. Starting in 2007, LBC has not been shy about making its geographical preferences known. “Texas born. Texas proud. We are Texas,” states its motto.
The new television station, which will be promoted as TEX-TV, will be affiliated with Me-TV Network and feature programming such as “Cheers,” “I Love Lucy” and “Perry Mason” to name a few.
“[It’s] classic television programming the whole family can enjoy,” said Phil Hurley, executive vice president and chief operating officer for LBC.
Me-TV, which stands for Memorable Entertainment Television, was launched in December 2010 and “was created to present a wide variety of the iconic series, stars and genres that have defined pop culture and television for decades,” according to its website.
The new station is currently in transition from its former format as KTAQ, but the new programming should begin in March, Hurley said.
He also said LBC will begin inserting its own programming as early as September, which will include sports, a locally-produced morning show and programs such as “Troubadour, TX.”
“It will become a Dallas-Fort Worth market independent that will lean toward classic entertainment programming and all levels of sports,” Hurley said.
Part of the transition, he said, was getting the call letters changed from the original KTAQ to KTXD-TV.
“When changing the programming, you want to change the identity,” Hurley said.
LBC began after Terry London and Hurley joined forces through the purchase of Hurley’s television station. The company focuses on owning and operating various media properties, according to its website.
“We have been in Mach speed since we started,” Hurley said.
LBC currently operates 17 television channels and seven websites in the state of Texas, with its location in Addison acting as its corporate office. “Terry and I decided we would build a mid-market broadcasting company,” Hurley said.
According to its website, the company serves about 9.9 million viewers, which accounts for about 38 percent of the state population, according to 2011 Census data.
The company owns stations servicing the Beaumont-Port Arthur, Corpus Christi, Tyler-Longview, Waco-Temple-Bryan and Dallas-Fort Worth markets.
As Hurley describes it, LBC is a multidimensional entertainment and broadcasting company concentrating on Texas television broadcasting and Texas music.
With the company growing and a new station in the works, LBC needed more space to operate. So the hunt for a new home began. LBC looked at locations in Plano and surrounding areas, but kept coming back to its home: Addison.
Staff members met with town officials to discuss their options and ultimately came to the decision to stay. “We are committed to Addison in the short term and the long term,” Hurley said.
And the town agreed.
Orlando Campos, the director of economic development for the Town of Addison, worked with the company to ensure its presence in the town.
Campos said LBC wanted to stay in Addison, but it was just a matter of finding a reason that would make sense for the company.
“We wanted to make sure they stay here and grow here where it all started,” Campos said. “For Addison, it was an opportunity to work with a local company that is growing.”
And the employees won’t have to haul their moving boxes too far. The new space at Millennium Tower is only about a block away from its current location, but provides LBC with the room it needs to support its growth.
The first floor remodel is a nearly $500,000 project, with an additional $1.2 million in equipment and will be home to the company’s ever growing employee base.
LBC is set to move offices in February and plan to have the new station up and running by March of this year, Hurley said.
Ross Newsome, director of sales at LBC, said part of the partnership made with the town is that the company wants to be a promotional partner. “We want to help promote Addison,” Newsome said.
The company will help the town with promoting various events throughout the year with services such as on-air promotions and video production for special events. “It all translates into marketing for the community,” Campos said.
Newsome added that the viewership and revenue opportunities in the area are a dynamic combination. “We’re not going to compete in the traditional affiliate universe,” he said. “There is a demand, though, for the type of programming we offer.”
Newsome echoed Hurley’s commitment to the Town of Addison. “These are long-term roots,” he said, adding that the company is investing a lot in the infrastructure, station and employees.
The vibrant community and central location of Addison make it a great spot for doing business, said Newsome. “It really is a very special place,” he said. “We’re so excited to stay there.”
Brian Joyce, director of programming and Internet operations and a 15-year veteran in broadcasting, said the Town did not hesitate to make its opinions known.
“We had options to leave where we are now,” he said. “The Town of Addison kind of stepped up and made sure we knew they wanted us to stay.”
He is quick to point out the company’s intention of integrating itself in the community and not just listing it as part of its physical address. “We aren’t just going to be a television station in Addison,” Joyce said, “We’re going to be here for the community.”
Joyce added that he wants the community to feel that it owns a piece of the station and, in return, it wants to make the community proud.
Joyce, who joined the LBC staff shortly after its inception, said watching the company grow has been a great experience. “The most exciting thing is trying to build a company from scratch and see where we are today,” Joyce said. “We’ve grown a lot and we’re going to continue to grow.”
Joyce also said that LBC would like to position itself to be the broadcasting leader in Texas. LBC has a presence in five of the 19 markets in Texas but is still in acquisition mode, said Hurley.
“Our goal would be to continue to acquire stations in markets we are not operating in,” Hurley said, adding that they would like to be in at least 9-12 markets.
Hurley is very particular about his staff and wants them to be as passionate about the industry as he. “We firmly believe that if you don’t like what you’re doing, you shouldn’t be in the business,” Hurley said.
As the website states, “We truly believe that employees are the key to success. We will treat every employee with respect and dignity, encouraging creativity.”
And that is exactly the environment Newsome said he experiences. ”We’re encouraged to go out and try new things,” he said.
LBC is also home to two content companies: 41 Entertainment and BE Music & Entertainment. “It’s basically our production arm,” said Hurley, describing 41 Entertainment.
The production company currently has five shows in production, including “Troubadour, TX,” and works in the realm of television commercials as well as other forms of video and music.
“We will air much of the local production 41 does on our television station,” Hurley said.
BE Music and Entertainment manages various country and Christian music acts and guides artists through aspects of production, publishing and management.
Although LBC’s services extended into the world of music, Hurley does point out that it is strictly a television company and has no plans to expand into the radio market. “Our history and experience is in television broadcasting,” he said.
But with all of the expansion LBC is undergoing, Hurley wants to make one thing clear: LBC is not interested in extending beyond the state’s borders and it remains solely focused on the state.
-By Amanda Shimko