Steve Cohen
Steve Cohen of KuSI

Texas-based Nexstar Media Group, owner of KSWB-TV Fox 5 San Diego, announced it has closed on the acquisition of San Diego TV station KUSI and its assets from McKinnon Broadcasting Co.

The acquisition of KUSI-TV by Nexstar creates a duopoly in San Diego where more than one broadcasting outlet in the same market shares common ownership.

Opinion logo

In a brief, two-paragraph statement, the announcement also said Scott Heath, KSWB-TV vice president and general manager, will serve as VP and GM for both stations.

“We are very excited to be bringing KUSI-TV together with KSWB-TV, Nexstar’s other owned-and-operated television station in the market,” Heath said in the statement. “Collectively, these stations will offer more local news and information programming in the market than all of the other local stations combined and provide unprecedented coverage of breaking news, weather, and sports.”

“In addition, by working together with KUSI-TV, we will be able to provide our advertisers and marketing clients with even more opportunities to reach consumers across our combined linear and digital platforms,” Heath added.

Heath did not mention longtime News Director Steve Cohen, but multiple sources have confirmed he has been relieved of his duties as KUSI-TV news director. Cohen had served as news director since joining the station in July 2003. The 76-year-old recently began his 50th year working in TV news.

In July, Cohen told Times of San Diego he was unsure of his future at KUSI-TV under Nexstar’s ownership. “I don’t know what changes, if any, will happen when Nexstar takes over,” Cohen said at the time.

In May, Times of San Diego reported that some news content would likely be shared between KUSI and KSWB under Nexstar, and some KUSI jobs would be eliminated.

In addition, sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity said plans call for the KSWB-TV newsroom, TV studio and sales staff to eventually relocate from KSWB’s building at 7191 Engineer Road in Kearny Mesa to the KUSI building at 4575 Viewridge Avenue near Interstate 15.

Office space at the KUSI building for the relocating KSWB personnel was previously occupied by San Diego Home & Garden Lifestyles magazine, which closed its doors in March 2020 amid the COVID pandemic.

KUSI did not release a statement about the Nexstar acquisition. Email requests seeking comment were not returned. A KSWB spokesperson said there would be no statement from KUSI at this time. Also, a spokesperson for Nexstar Media Group did not respond to a request for comment.

In May, Nexstar announced it had agreed to acquire the assets of KUSI-TV for $35 million. At the time, a Nexstar statement said the acquisition would strengthen “Nexstar’s local television broadcasting, news and digital media platforms in San Diego, while presenting numerous opportunities for operating efficiencies.”

Nexstar’s announcement in May also included a comment from Mike McKinnnon, owner of and CEO of KUSI, in which he said, “I have known Perry Sook, Nexstar’s chairman and chief executive officer, for more than 30 years. He is a great broadcaster who has built a tremendous organization. We have a great team of news people at KUSI-TV, and joining these two companies will create one of the most dynamic news organizations in all of Southern California.”

Tom Carter, Nexstar president and COO, said in a statement at the time that “KUSI-TV’s established local news operations serving viewers and advertisers across the San Diego community is a perfect fit with our station group and existing San Diego operations at KSWB-TV.”

KUSI-TV, an independent television station on the air since 1982, produces more than nine hours of local news each weekday and nearly 60 hours of local news every week. Under Nexstar, the station is expected to become an affiliate of The CW Network, although it’s unclear when the affiliation will become available.

Tegna’s KFMB-TV, San Diego’s CBS network affiliate, currently carries The CW programming on Channel 6, its sub-channel. KSWB-TV is San Diego’s Fox network affiliate.

Nexstar Media Group is the largest television station owner and operator in the U.S. with about 200 stations in 116 markets reaching 212 million people. Of its 200 stations, about 150 are affiliated with the four major national broadcasters, including CBS, Fox, NBC and ABC.

Nexstar’s national TV properties include The CW Network, cable news network NewsNational reaching 70 million homes and a 31 percent ownership stake in TV Food Network. The company’s digital assets include The Hill and BestReviews, collectively a top 10 U.S. digital news and information property.

Cause San Diego Presents 2023 Cause Conference

The 2023 San Diego Cause Conference, a day-long conference on social entrepreneurship, will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 14, at the Sharp Prebys Innovation & Education Center, 8695 Spectrum Center Boulevard. More than 300 people are expected to attend.

Now in its 25th year, the Cause Conference will feature keynote presentations, breakout sessions and panel dialogues with 70 speakers discussing best business practices to help companies and nonprofits become more effective and expand the impact of their cause-driven enterprises.

Speakers will include: Safwan Shah, Payactiv; Jay Jakub, Mars; Joseph Kenner, Greyston Foundation and Greyston Bakery; Donnie Dee, San Diego Rescue Mission; Bill Littlejohn, Sharp Healthcare Foundation; Jake Wood, Team Rubicon and Groundswell; Nathan Havey, film director with Stakeholder Business; Lisa Conway, Global Sustainability for Interface; Charles Antis, Antis Roofing & Waterproofing; Theresa Carrington, Ten by Three; J.R. Redmond, Silverback Foundation; and Julia Healey, United Charitable.

This year’s conference theme is “Together we can do more than any of us alone.” Organizers said the conference is a call to action for the business and nonprofit community to be more strategic in their commitment to caring for their employees’ well-being, the communities they serve and resources they expend.

The Cause Conference is hosted by Cause San Diego, a nonprofit with a mission is to accelerate social impact in the region by enhancing collaboration and cooperation between businesses and nonprofit organizations. United Charitable, based in Ashburn, Vir., is the fiscal agent for Cause San Diego.

The event’s honorary co-chairs are Soraya Alexander, GoFundMe, and Eugene “Mitch” Mitchell, SoCal Gas and San Diego Gas & Electric. Co-executive directors are DeLinda Forsythe, author of “Inspiring Generational Leadership,” and Staci Reidinger, Reidinger Public Relations. Event partners are Conscious Capitalism San Diego and the San Diego Business Journal.

Prices for a full-day conference pass begin at $350 per person, $250 per person for nonprofit employees and $150 per person for students and educators. Each attendee will receive a Social Impact Playbook that includes stories from local San Diego entrepreneurs to learn how to design strategies that lift their brand, engage their employees, and attract loyal customers. For more event information, visit

KOCT-TV, Oceanside Public Access, Hosts Birthday Bash

KOCT-TV, an Oceanside-based, public access TV station airing city, county and state government programming, will host the KOCT Speakeasy Birthday Bash, a fundraiser, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29, at the KOCT studios, 3038 Industry Street in Oceanside.

Proceeds will benefit operational expenses for KOCT, a nonprofit TV station that airs on two channels, including Cox Community Channel 18, featuring arts, culture and education programming, and Cox Government Channel 19 for history, local politics and city government programming.

According to Carly Starr Brullo Niles, KOCT executive director, the fundraiser will feature dining, dancing, entertainment, silent auction, raffle prizes and studio tours. Theme attire is optional. Tickets cost $100 per person if purchased before the event, or $125 per person at the door. More information is available at, or call (760) 722-4433.

Founded in 1984 as a non-profit corporation, KOCT provides a voice in the North County for programming about non-profit and community groups. It also serves as workforce development with volunteers and interns who have gone on to work in commercial broadcast, film and online entities.

Crowe Public Relations Adds Two to Staff

San Diego-based Crowe Public Relations has announced the hiring of two employees, including Margaux Elias as a senior account manager and Becca Roer as a content specialist.

Elias, with five years of experience, will lead account strategy and serve as the day-to-day contact for Crowe PR clients in the consumer products, spirits and hospitality sectors. She will be based in New York City. Elias was previously with a New York creative agency leading campaigns for clients in the food-and-beverage industry.

Roer, with three years of experience, will provide content strategy and social media content creation for Crowe PR clients in the consumer, healthcare and technology sectors. She will be based in San Diego. Roer was previously with Cutwater Spirits.

With a staff of 30 employees, Crowe PR specializes in public relations, thought leadership, social amplification, crisis communications, influencer marketing and content creation services for healthcare technology, consumer goods and hospitality brands. Offices are located in San Diego and New York City. The agency was founded in 2014.

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.