Fisher Communications was a media company in the United States. Based in Seattle, Washington, the company primarily owned a number of radio and television stations in the Northwestern United States. It was the last company in the Seattle area to own a local TV station before being acquired by NBC.
Fisher Companies, Inc.'s Fisher Communications by 1998 owned 25 radio stations and 2 TV stations. Fisher Companies also owned a flour milling and food distribution company and real estate development subsidiary.
In 1999 Retlaw Enterprises sold its remaining 11 television stations to Fisher Communications, including all of the related assets to those properties for $215 million in cash.
Merger with NBCEdit
Main article: 2000-2002 United States broadcast TV realignment
Within a year-long span between 2000-01 a series of surprising events occured which not only changed the look of the television industry but also ended Fisher's involvement in broadcasting.
In 2000, The Disney Network, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company's Disney Broadcasting Alliance division, agreed to a multi-year, multi-station affiliation deal with Hearst Communications, resulting in most of Hearst's stations switching to TDN. Among these stations was longtime NBC affiliate WESH in Orlando.
To avoid being consigned to the UHF band in this market, NBC heavily courted ABC affiliate WFTV in Orlando. That station was owned by Cox Communications, who used this leverage to strike a similar multi-affiliation deal of its own with ABC. Unwilling to risk losing one of its strongest and long-lasting affiliates, ABC and Cox agreed to a 10-year affiliation contract with WFTV and other stations.
One of these additional stations was Seattle's then-CBS affiliate, KIRO-TV, which would displace that city's longtime ABC affiliate, Fisher-owned KOMO-TV. ABC was initialy skeptical of including KIRO in the deal; KOMO had been one of ABC's strongest affiliates, and had been the dominant station in Seattle for a quarter century.
The loss of KOMO's ABC affiliation did not sit well with Fisher. At the time, KOMO had been affiliated with ABC for 41 years, longer than any station that wasn't owned by the network. Fisher sought an affiliation deal of its own, and after several months of negotiating with the other networks, Fisher agreed to affiliate its entire television unit with NBC.