Texas-based Nexstar Broadcasting Group buying 4 TV stations in North Dakota for $44 million

Texas-based Nexstar Broadcasting Group is buying four CBS-affiliated TV stations in North Dakota from Reiten Television for $44 million, a company official said Friday.

Nexstar is buying KXMC in Minot, KXMB in Bismarck, KXMA in Dickinson and KXMD in Williston from the North Dakota company, which is one of the last remaining family owned broadcasting groups in the nation, said Reiten Television president Tim Reiten.

"It's bittersweet selling the family business but we felt it was the right move at the right time," Reiten told The Associated Press. "We've always resisted selling but because of the changing environment in TV, we sold it to a bigger group to take it into the future."

Nexstar also will provide sales and other services to the market's two ABC-affiliated stations owned by Forum Communications, in continuation of Reiten's services agreement with Forum. Those stations are KMCY in Minot and KBMY in Bismarck.

The transaction is subject to Federal Communications Commission approval. It's expected to close late this year or early next year.

"We don't think people are going to see many changes," Reiten said. The company's 100 or so employees will remain, he said.

The Reiten family's television business legacy in North Dakota dates back nearly 60 years. Broadcasting pioneer Chester Reiten, the father of Tim Reiten, died in 2013 at age 89.

Chester Reiten was born in Hastings, North Dakota, in 1923. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He graduated from North Dakota State University in Fargo with a degree in agriculture and worked as a county agent until entering the broadcast field in 1951.

His company, Reiten Broadcasting Co., eventually owned four TV stations and several radio stations in North Dakota. He eventually sold the radio stations and turned over control of the KX Television Network in Minot, Bismarck, Dickinson and Williston to his five children.

He served as a mayor of Minot for 14 years, leading the city's recovery from the 1969 Souris River flood. He was a state senator for 16 years in the 1970s and 1980s. He founded the annual Scandinavian heritage festival Norsk Hostfest in the late 1970s.

In 2002, he was given the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, North Dakota's highest honor.