HONOLULU (AP) ¿ The owners of three Honolulu television stations announced Tuesday they are joining forces, creating the largest local TV news operation in Hawaii.

Raycom Media, owner of NBC affiliate KHNL and sister station KFVE, and MCG Capital Corp., owner of CBS affiliate KGMB, said the partnership will allow the stations to operate more efficiently and effectively.

Although programming on the three stations will be retained, KGMB reported only an estimated 130 of the stations' 198 employees will become part of the new combined organization.

"KGMB, KHNL and K5 (KFVE) are proud of their relationship with their respective national networks and all of the programming provided by CBS, NBC and MyNetworkTV, and this agreement will keep those relationships strong," Raycom Media President Paul McTear said in a statement.

He said viewers in Hawaii will continue to enjoy their favorite network programs, University of Hawaii sports and local programming without interruption.

"The stations would field the largest number of news professionals in times of major breaking news or severe weather, providing better coverage of the stories impacting the lives of everyone who lives in Hawaii," McTear said.

"The new media center would have more news staff than any other local TV station covering news each day, and providing more stories of local, national and international importance," he said.

The agreement is an operational arrangement, so Raycom Media retains ownership of KHNL and KFVE, and MCG Capital retains ownership of KGMB, the companies said.

Raycom Media, an employee-owned company, owns and operates 46 television stations in 36 markets and 18 states. MCG Capital Corp. is a commercial finance company.
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