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Chesapeake buys Southern Baptist broadcast facilities

FORT WORTH — Chesapeake Energy Co. has bought the iconic broadcast facilities of the Southern Baptist's along the West Freeway near Ridgmar Mall, but the company said it will not be using the facilities for its soon-to-launch Shale.TV, the online video channel sponsored by Chesapeake.

Those operations will stay in Chesapeake Plaza near downtown, the headquarters for its Barnett Shale operations, where it has its own, independent studios, said Jerri Robbins, a Chesapeake public relations manager.

Plans for the property — 87,966 square feet of building space on 5 acres — have not been determined, she said.

Representatives with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in Alpharetta, Ga., which sold the property, were out of the office Friday for the holiday weekend and could not be reached for comment, an administrative assistant answering the telephone said. Its telephones at the Fort Worth facilities were busy Friday.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Radio and Television Commission moved to Fort Worth from Atlanta in 1955. It was located on Camp Bowie Boulevard until 1965 when the West Freeway facilities were completed. The Commission merged with the North American Mission Board in 1998.

A year ago, the North American Mission Board said it had 37 employees producing its radio and TV ministry from Fort Worth.

Shale. TV is scheduled to launch in September. It was created to provide a forum for news on the Barnett Shale, the natural gas field under Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Chesapeake has become a leading operator in the Barnett Shale.

This story contains information from the Star-Telegram archives.