Sigma Frater Armstrong Williams Becomes Leading African-American Owner of TV Stations in the Country
His purchase of KVMY, the MyNet affiliate in Las Vegas, Nevada, from a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcasting, for $150,000 and WLYH, the CW affiliate in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, from Nexstar for $450,000 brought his total holdings to seven television stations.
“Armstrong [Williams] is the leading owner [of television stations],” James Winston, President of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters tells Breitbart News. In fact, as the Washington Post reported in August, African-Americans owned only ten television stations in the country. At the time, Williams accounted for five of those. Now, he owns seven of the twelve total owned by African-Americans.
Williams’ big break in broadcast ownership came in 2013, when his good friend David Smith, CEO and one of four Smith family members who together own a controlling interest in publicly traded Sinclair Broadcasting, which “owns and operates, programs or provides sales services to 164 television stations in 79 markets,” helped him purchase the license assets of two Barrington Broadcasting owned stations for an estimated $6 million as part of a larger $370 million transaction in which Sinclair purchased eighteen television stations from Barrington.
The African-American businessman with the next largest ownership interest is Pluria Marshall, Jr., sole owner of the recently formed Marshall Broadcasting Group, whichpurchased three Fox affiliated television stations from Nexstar in 2014 for $58 million.
After graduating from South Carolina State University in 1981, Williams worked as an aide to Thurmond then worked for four years as the assistant to now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A fixture of the behind-the-scenes Republican and GOP community in Washington, D.C., Williams branched out to partner with Oprah Winfrey’s long-time boyfriend Stedman Graham to form the Graham Williams Group, an international marketing and public relations agency in 1991.
Since the 1990s, Williams has hosted several radio programs—he currently hosts his own weeknight radio show on Sirius XM’s Urban View network, Channel 126 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm—as well as numerous television programs over the years. He also owns a television production company.
But it has been his long standing relationship with Sinclair Broadcasting that gave him the help he needed to enter the world of television station broadcasting when he bought WEYI in Flint, Michigan and WWMB in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for an estimated $6 million.