The new owner of WDVM-TV (Channel 9) plans to invest up to $5 million in the next few years in its broadcast property here.
Evening News Association of Detroit also publishes the nation's largest afternoon daily newspaper, the Detroit News. Peter B. Clark, president of the Detroit communications firm and publisher of the Detroit paper, said in an interview yesterday that the new money will be used for extensive purchases of electronic equipment, renovation of the station's building in Northwest Washington and hiring of additional employes for news and public affairs programs.
In addition, Clark said his firm has launched an expansion program designed to acquire the maximum number of broadcast properties permitted by the Federal Communications Commission, as well as additional newspaper and printing properties.
Meanwhile, the company's flagship, The Detroit News, has reversed declines suffered in the early part of this decade and is now gaining advertising and circulation in a bitter struggle with the morning Detroit Free Press.
Significantly, The News is retreating from publishing "zoned" editions with separate editorial content for different regions in the metropolitan area, a concept in which the newspaper was a pioneer in the 1960s.
Although advertising matter still is being sold for separate zones, Clark said the firm's new "editorial philosophy is that resources should be applied across the whole (region) rather than scattered by parts."
The Detroit newspaper has started a morning state editionas well as morning street sales in the metropolitan area, which have contributed all of the recent circulation increases, Clark said.
As an example of new TV programs here, WDVM Vice President and General Manager Edwin Pfeiffer said "PM Magazine" will be telecast from 7:30 to 8 p.m. Monday through Fridays.
At least 10 staffers will be added for this program, which will include a variety of documentary segments and entertainment features from remote locations throughout the Washington area. WDVM has purchased a format for the program from Westinghouse Broadcasting, which is airing similar programs with success in other cities.
The 105-year-old Evening News Association acquired Channel 9 (formerly WTOP-TV) last July 1 in a swap with The Washington Post Co., which took over the News Association's WWJ-TV in Detroit and changed the call letters there to WDIV-TV.
Clark and his company's broadcast division vice president, Peter Kizer, were here for a reception last night hosted by Pfeiffer to introduce the new owners to the Washington community.
In addition to WDVM and the Detroit newspaper, Evening News Association owns WALA-TV, Mobile; KOLD-TV, Tucson; KTVY, Oklahoma City, WWJ AM-FM, Detroit; and daily and weekly newspapers in California and New Jersey.
A New Jersey publishing company owned by the firm is one of the largest commercial offset printing shops on the East Coast, printing Women's Wear Daily and the New York Review of Books.
Acquisition of another broadcast property, KVUE (TV) in Austin, has been approved by the FCC and will be consummated shortly, Clark said. Overall, the closely held private company has annual revenues in excess of $200 million on which profits are in "a range" of $10 million to $20 million.
In a wide-ranging discussion of communications issues, Clark and his associates also said:
A trend toward concentration of media ownership is likely to continue, but Evening News Association would fight any takeover bid and plans to remain independent. About 70 percent of some 300 stockholders are descendants of founder Joseph E. Scripps.
The "main thrust" of management at WDVM-TV will be to "build on the quality of news and public affairs" programs.