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Nexstar Media Group founder Perry Sook celebrates 25 years, highlights serving local communities

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE 28/WYOU 22 EYEWITNESS NEWS) — It was a special day for all of us at Eyewitness News.

Perry Sook, the founder of our parent company, Nexstar Media Group, paid a visit to our stations Thursday.

Mr. Sook was here to talk about our ongoing efforts to support our local communities.

Sook’s visit comes one week after the company marked “Founder’s Day of Caring”, the 25th anniversary of the day Perry Sook founded Nexstar here in northeastern Pennsylvania. A day in which Nexstar employees from around the nation volunteer in their communities. Sook’s message Thursday? Nexstar is all about local.

“We always set out to be more local to try to be better today than we were yesterday,” Sook said.

And that is the bottom line according to Sook. Sook came home of sorts Thursday to northeast Pennsylvania, the birthplace of Nexstar. He met with Eyewitness News staffers, people he says are the very foundation of Nexstar.

Nexstar first purchased WYOU-TV in 1996 and two years later, WBRE-TV. Today, Nexstar Media Group continues to grow with more than 12,000 employees working in 199 stations across the country.

And just this year Nexstar launched News Nation, a national news broadcast based in Chicago.

“We are committed to building News Nation to a 24/7 national cable news network much like the ones you see on the air, but unlike the ones you see today our whole focus is on being absent of bias. Telling only the facts and telling both sides of the story,” Sook said.

His efforts have not gone unnoticed, winning numerous national media awards as well as being recognized for Nexstar’s commitment to local communities. Sook says no matter the size of Nexstar, it remains laser-focused on its mission.

“One day we looked up and said ‘wow, we are the largest group’. Our goal is to increase our service to the local community,” Sook said.

And Sook admits the COVID-19 pandemic did and continues to present never-before-seen challenges to media outlets, including television stations.

“I mean back during the pandemic it is absolutely obvious that our communities depended on us for news. Where to go for inoculations. What was the current threat level? Levels in our local communities which varied from community to community,” Sook said.

So where does the television industry go from here?

“I think our essential business will be the same as it was in 1996. To provide relevant local information to our community and help local business grow. Now technology has definitely changed how we do that in 25 years. That hasn’t changed our essential mission. I don’t think that will ever change for Nexstar,” Sook said.

Sook says Nexstar Media Group has and will always be about being local.

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