Sinclair Broadcast Group

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Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
Type Public
Traded as NASDAQSBGI
Industry Telecommunications
Mass media
Founded April 11, 1971
Headquarters Hunt Valley, Maryland, U.S.
Key people David D. Smith, Chairman & CEO
David B. Amy, CFO
Products Broadcast television
Revenue $765 Million USD (2011)[1]
Net income $75.8 Million USD (2011)[1]
Total assets $1.57 Billion USD (2011)[1]
Subsidiaries Sinclair Television Group
Chesapeake TV
Website www.sbgi.net

Sinclair Broadcast Group is an American telecommunications company that operates the largest number of local television stations in the United States. Headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, it owns or operates a total of 145 stations across the country (165 after all currently proposed sales are approved) in nearly 60 primarily small and medium markets, many of which are located in the South and Midwest. Sinclair also owns or operates four radio stations. Broadcasts by SBG stations can be received by 30 percent of American households. SBG is also the owner of the Ring of Honor (ROH) professional wrestling promotion.

Though Sinclair became a public company in 1995 and is currently traded on NASDAQ under the symbol SBGI, the Smith family still retains a majority financial interest, and all four Smith brothers serve as executives or directors.

History[edit]

Chesapeake Television[edit]

The company, founded by Julian Sinclair Smith, originated in 1971 as the Chesapeake Television Corporation with the launch of WBFF (channel 45) in Baltimore. A subsidiary of Chesapeake Television Corporation, the Commercial Radio Institute, later founded WPTT (channel 22, now WPMY) in Pittsburgh, in 1978; and WTTE (channel 28) in Columbus, Ohio, in 1984.

Sinclair Broadcast Group[edit]

Smith's son David D. Smith began taking a more active role in the 1980s. In 1985, the Chesapeake Television Corporation changed its name to Sinclair Broadcast Group. All three stations originally were independents, though WBFF and WTTE became charter affiliates of the Fox Broadcasting Company at its launch in 1986.

In 1990, David Smith and his three brothers bought their parents' remaining stock and went on a buying spree that eventually made it one of the largest station owners in the country. Sinclair pioneered the local marketing agreements (LMA) concept in 1991. Sinclair became a publically listed company in 1995 while the Smith family retained a controlling interest.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 14, 2009, Sinclair stated that if they cannot refinance its $1.33 billion debt or if Cunningham Broadcasting becomes insolvent due to nonpayment on a loan worth $33.5 million, then Sinclair may be forced to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy.[2]

On May 21, 2011 it was announced that Sinclair had purchased the Ring of Honor professional wrestling company (ROH). It was announced that as part of the purchase, Sinclair would produce a weekly, hour-long program for ROH to air on SBG stations, with the intent to eventually syndicate the show to non-SBG stations across the country.[3]

It also announced that it was in talks to purchase Columbus, Ohio CW affiliate WWHO from LIN TV (Sinclair already owns ABC affiliate WSYX and manages Fox affiliate WTTE, a possible sale of WWHO to Sinclair could result in the company controlling three stations in the Columbus market, similar to the arrangement it has with WZTV, WNAB and WUXP in Nashville).[when?][4] However Manhan Media purchased that station in December 2011, though it immediately turned around in February 2012 and entered a shared services agreement with Sinclair, effectively giving them all but license control of WWHO.[citation needed]

2011-present: Acquisition string[edit]

On September 8, 2011, Sinclair entered into an agreement to purchase all of the assets of Four Points Media Group from Cerberus Capital Management for $200 million.[5] The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) gave its antitrust approval of the deal in late September; as a result, that October 1, Sinclair took over the management of the stations from the Nexstar Broadcasting Group through time brokerage agreements Cerberus would then pay Nexstar a portion of Sinclair's purchase price—$6.7 million—to terminate the outsourcing agreement, which was set to expire in March 2012, five months early. Sinclair would also supply working capital to the stations in consideration of service fees and performance incentives through the LMAs.[6] The group deal was officially completed on January 1, 2012 after the Federal Communications Commission approved it on December 21, 2011. The purchase would be the first in a major string of acquisitions for the company

On November 2, 2011, it was announced that Sinclair would purchase all eight television stations owned by Freedom Communications in a move for Freedom to eliminate its debt; the sale is pending Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and United States Department of Justice (DOJ) approval.[4][7] Sinclair took over the operations of the Freedom stations on December 1, 2011 through time brokerage agreements. The deal was granted approval by the FCC on March 13, 2012 and was consummated on April 1.

On May 15, 2012, Sinclair renewed its affiliation agreement for its 19 Fox affiliates for five years through 2017. The agreement includes the option for Sinclair to purchase Baltimore MyNetworkTV affiliate WUTB from Fox Television Stations at any point between July 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013. If exercised, this would create a virtual triopoly with flagship station WBFF and CW affiliate WNUV, which Sinclair manages under a local marketing agreement with Cunningham Broadcasting; it also gave Fox Television Stations the option to buy any combination of six Sinclair-owned CW and MyNetworkTV affiliates in three of four markets: Raleigh, North Carolina (WLFL and WRDC), Las Vegas, Nevada (KVCW and KVMY), Cincinnati, Ohio (WSTR-TV) and Norfolk, Virginia (WTVZ). Of these stations, WLFL and WTVZ are both former Fox charter affiliates, having disaffiliated with the network in 1998 to become affiliates of The WB.[8]

On July 19, 2012, Sinclair announced it would acquire six stations from Newport Television, including WKRC-TV, WOAI-TV, WHP-TV (along with its LMA for WLYH-TV), WPMI-TV, WJTC and KSAS-TV (along with its LMA for KMTW) for $412.5 million. Concurrently, Sinclair announced that it would also acquire WTTA outright from its current owners, Bay Television (which Sinclair operated under a LMA), for $40 million.[9] Sinclair also sold two stations, WSTR-TV and KMYS, to Deerfield Media, a company owned by Stephen P. Mumblow (the owner of Manhan Media), in order to satisfy the FCC's restrictions on duopolies. Sinclair continues to operate these two stations under shared services agreements. Sinclair will also give Deerfield Media the option to purchase WJTC and WPMI at a later date.[when?][9][10]

On November 26, 2012, Sinclair exercised its option on WUTB through its recently formed LMA partner Deerfield Media (the transfer was formally consummated on June 1, 2013). In January 2013, Fox announced that it would not exercise its option to buy any of the Sinclair stations in those four markets mentioned. Therefore, Sinclair is required to pay Fox $25 million.[11] Deerfield Media also acquired KBTV-TV, a Fox affiliate in Beaumont, Texas, from Nexstar. Following the acquisition, Sinclair-owned KFDM took over its operations under a shared services agreement.[12] The deal was granted approval by the FCC for both Sinclair and Deerfield Media with their respective stations on November 19, 2012. The sale was consummated on December 3; on that day, Sinclair also acquired the non-FCC assets of WHAM-TV, an ABC affiliate in Rochester, New York, from Newport with the license and other FCC assets being transferred to Deerfield Media.[13]

On February 25, 2013, Cox Media Group announced that it would sell its four smallest (by market size) television stations—KFOX-TV in El Paso, Texas, WJAC-TV in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, KRXI-TV in Reno, Nevada, and WTOV-TV in Steubenville, Ohio—to Sinclair. Cox sold these stations as part of a refocus on larger markets.[14] Concurrently, Deerfield Media will acquire the license assets of KAME-TV in Reno, which has long been operated by KRXI, from Ellis Communications.[15] WJAC-TV and WTOV-TV have overlapping coverage with existing Sinclair stations in Pittsburgh with WPGH-TV and WPMY; Cox-owned WPXI has a news sharing agreement with Sinclair to air a 10 PM newscast for WPGH-TV.[citation needed]

Three days later, on February 28, 2013, Sinclair announced the purchase of Barrington Broadcasting's 18 stations; six other stations currently operated by Barrington will also be managed by Sinclair.[16] Sinclair will operate the former Cox and Barrington stations through a subsidiary, Chesapeake Television, which will focus on smaller markets;[15][16][17] this unit has separate management from Sinclair's main group, which operates the company's larger-market properties.[16] As part of the Barrington acquisition, Chesapeake Television will inherit Barrington's headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois. Concurrently with the Barrington acquisition, Sinclair was going to transfer WYZZ-TV in PeoriaBloomington, Illinois and WSYT (and its LMA of WNYS-TV) in Syracuse, New York to Cunningham Broadcasting, because of FCC ownership restrictions, as Barrington already owned stations in these markets.[16] However, in an updated filing with the FCC on August 9, it was revealed that WSYT will instead be sold to Bristlecone Broadcasting, LLC; a company owned by Brian Brady, owner of Stainless Broadcasting Company.[18] Sinclair is expected to continue to operate WSYT and WNYS, through a transitional service agreement for six months, following consummation of the deal. The deal with Sinclair acquiring the four smaller-market Cox stations was granted approval by the FCC on April 29, 2013, with Deerfield Media's acquisition of KAME-TV following suit the next day. The Sinclair and Deerfield acquisitions of their respective Cox-controlled stations were consummated on May 1. The Barrington acquisition had to wait until November 18 to be granted FCC approval,[19] with formal consummation taking place on November 25.

On April 11, 2013, Sinclair announced that it would merge with Fisher Communications, which owns twenty television stations in the western United States, as well as three Seattle radio stations.[20] Sinclair reportedly beat out LIN TV in the bidding war for Fisher. As a result of the deal, Sinclair will take over the operations of an additional former Newport Television station, KMTR in Eugene, Oregon (which Fisher, owner of KVAL-TV in Eugene, had reached a deal to operate under a shared services agreement),[20] and return to radio ownership for the first time since selling its previous radio group to Entercom and Emmis Communications in 1999 and 2000.[21][22] However, the deal has been subject to financial scrutiny; the law firm Levi & Korsinsky notified Fisher shareholders with accusations that Fisher's board of directors were breaching fiduciary duties by "failing to adequately shop the Company before agreeing to enter into the transaction", and Sinclair was underpaying for Fisher's stock.[23] Shortly after the announcement, a lawsuit was filed by a Fisher shareholder;[24] the suit was settled in July 2013,[25] and on August 6 Fisher's shareholders approved the merger.[26] On August 7, the FCC granted its approval of the deal,[27] which was completed the next day.[28]

On June 3, 2013, Sinclair announced that it would purchase four stations from the Titan TV Broadcast Group—KMPH-TV and KFRE-TV in Fresno, California, KPTM in Omaha, Nebraska, and KPTH in Sioux City, Iowa. Sinclair will also take over the operations of KXVO in Omaha and KMEG in Sioux City, which are operated by TTBG through shared services agreements.[29] On April 23, TTBG had filed to sell a seventh station, KDBC-TV in El Paso, Texas, to Cunningham Broadcasting,[30] leading to speculation that the station's operations will be consolidated with Sinclair-owned KFOX-TV.[31] On August 7, Sinclair exercised its option to purchase KDBC outright from Cunningham Broadcasting.[32] FCC duopoly regulations normally disallow two of the four highest-rated stations (which are usually the affiliate stations of the "Big Four" networks) from being directly owned by a single entity. However, in this case, Sinclair cited that KDBC is ranked fourth overall in the El Paso market while KFOX is ranked sixth.[33] The entire Titan deal closed on October 3.[34]

On June 18, 2013, the purchase of Dielectric Communications, a key supplier of broadcast television antennas, from SPX was announced. Dielectric had been scheduled to shut down by the end of July, which threatened to throw the FCC-proposed television spectrum auction and repacking scheme into disarray.[35]

On July 22, 2013, Horseshoe Curve Communications agreed to sell WWCP-TV in Johnstown, Pennsylvania to Cunningham Broadcasting for $12 million. Sinclair (which already owns NBC affiliate, WJAC) was to operate the station through shared services and joint sales agreements. Included in the deal is the existing LMA for WWCP-TV to operate WATM-TV, which wold continue to be owned by Palm Television.[36] This would have effectively given Sinclair operational control of the entire Johnstown/Altoona/State College market except for WTAJ-TV, since the remaining stations are PBS member station WPSU-TV, low-powered stations, and religious stations. However, on February 20, 2014, Horseshoe Curve informed the FCC that the sale of WWCP had fallen through;[37] as a result, the sale application was dismissed on February 24.[38]

On July 29, 2013, Sinclair agreed to acquire seven television stations owned by Allbritton Communications for $985 million. Allbritton is selling the stations in order to refocus on its Politico website and newspaper. In addition to the television stations (all of which are affiliated with ABC) including Washington, D.C. flagship station WJLA-TV, the deal includes a regional cable news channel in Washington, D.C., NewsChannel 8, which Sinclair has indicated may be the base for a larger expansion in cable news.[39] Concurrent with the deal, Sinclair was to have sold the license assets for WABM and WTTO in Birmingham, Alabama and WHP-TV in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to Deerfield Media and for WMMP in Charleston, South Carolina to Howard Stirk Holdings, a company owned by conservative talk show host Armstrong Williams (these four stations are in markets also served by an Allbritton station); Sinclair would have continued to operate them through joint sales and shared services agreements.[40] However, on March 21, 2014, in advance of the FCC vote on joint sales agreements, Sinclair announced that it would instead sell WABM, WHP-TV and WMMP to independent third parties who would not enter into any operational agreements with Sinclair, assign the grandfathered time brokerage agreement for WLYH-TV in Lancaster to the new owner of WHP-TV and terminate the local marketing agreement for WTAT-TV in Charleston (Sinclair would retain ownership of WTTO and the grandfathered time brokerage agreement for WDBB in the revised deal).[citation needed]

On September 25, 2013, Sinclair announced that it would purchase eight stations owned or operated by New Age Media. To comply with FCC ownership regulations, three stations—WSWB in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, WTLH in Tallahassee, Florida, and WNBW-DT in Gainesville, Florida—will then be sold to Cunningham Broadcasting; a fourth station, WTLF in Tallahassee, will be purchased by Deerfield Media. These four stations will be operated by Sinclair through joint sales and shared services agreements; WSWB, WNBW, and WTLF are owned by MPS Media but have long been operated by New Age Media through such agreements (which Sinclair will continue), while WTLH cannot be acquired by Sinclair directly due to its existing ownership of WTWC-TV.[41][42]

On October 31, 2013, Sinclair acquired the non-license assets of WPFO, the Fox affiliate in Portland, Maine, from Corporate Media Consultants Group for $13.6 million; Sinclair's existing Portland property, WGME-TV, has produced a newscast for the station since 2007.[43] On November 20, it was announced that Cunningham Broadcasting will acquire the license assets for $3.4 million. [44]

On November 22, 2013, Sinclair announced it had acquired the non-license assets of Reno NBC affiliate, KRNV-DT, from Intermountain West Communications Company, for $26 million. It is expected to replace the simulcast of KTVU's 10pm newscasts airing on Fox station KRXI, and replace it with a KRNV-produced newscast.[45] On December 19, it was announced that Cunningham Broadcasting will acquire the license assets of KRNV and semi-satellite Elko station, KENV-DT for $6.5 million.[46][47]

Programming[edit]

Sinclair had experimented with using a centralized news organization called News Central that provided prepackaged news segments for distribution to several of the group's stations. These segments were integrated into programming during local news broadcasts. Mark E. Hyman, a high-ranking executive at Sinclair, also created conservative editorial segments called "The Point" that were broadcast on all of the group's stations with news departments.[48][49]

Political programming[edit]

Sinclair has been known for making several politically-motivated programming decisions across its stations, some of which have proven controversial.

In April 2004, Sinclair's ABC affiliates refused to air an episode of Nightline that featured a reading of the names of soldiers killed in the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. In response, Sinclair argued that the broadcast "[appeared] to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq." ABC responded, saying that the program was meant to be "an expression of respect which seeks to honor those who have laid down their lives for this country."[50][51] Afterward, the company's political slant was scrutinized by critics when it was publicized that nearly all of Sinclair's recent campaign contributions were to the Republican Party. In particular, the Center for Public Integrity showed concern that the Republican slant of Sinclair's news programming, along with Mark Hyman's past history of government lobbying (particularly calling on the FCC to loosen rules regarding concentration of media ownership), made its stations provide "anything but fair and balanced news programming." Hyman disputed these allegations by stating that its newscasts were "pretty balanced" and that "the reason why some on the left have characterized us as conservative is that we run stories that others in the media spike."[50][48]

Later in October 2004, just two weeks prior to the 2004 presidential election, it was reported that all 62 of Sinclair's stations would preempt prime time programming to air Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal, a documentary critical of U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry's anti-Vietnam War activism.[52] The film was produced by Carlton Sherwood, a former associate of Tom Ridge, and accuses John Kerry of prolonging the Vietnam War because of his anti-war activism. The organization Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, an anti-Kerry organization whose name become well known in the 2004 election year, was cross-promoting the film as part of a $1.4 million advertising campaign.[53] In response, the Democratic National Committee filed a legal motion with the Federal Election Commission stating that it is inappropriate for the media organization to air "partisan propaganda" in the last 10 days of an election campaign.[54] Following the incident, Sinclair fired its Washington bureau chief Jon Lieberman for publicly criticizing the film in The Baltimore Sun as "biased political propaganda."[55]

In November 2010, it was reported that five Fox affiliates and one ABC affiliate owned by Sinclair broadcast an infomercial critical of President Barack Obama, Breaking Point: 25 Minutes that will Change America, which was sponsored by the National Republican Trust Political Action Group.[56] The infomercial painted Obama as an extremist, and claimed that, during the 2008 presidential campaign, he received some campaign money from the Hamas terrorist group, and that Obama said in a speech, "You want freedom? You’re gonna have to kill some crackers! You gonna have to kill some of those babies." The special also discusses Obama advisers Van Jones and John Holdren, as well as Obama staff Anita Dunn, Kevin Jennings, Carol Browner, and Cass Sunstein—all in an unflattering light; in one case, the special claimed that Holdren said that trees should be permitted to sue humans in court. The infomercial aired at various times during the weekend of October 30 on Sinclair-owned stations in Madison, Wisconsin; Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Lexington, Kentucky; Pittsburgh; Des Moines; and Winston-Salem—all in swing states vital to the 2010 elections.[57][58]

On November 5, 2012, six Sinclair stations in swing states aired a special focusing on issues surrounding the presidential election occurring the next day, such as the Libyan civil war and Health care reform; the special consisted of a series of segments which were presented by the local anchors at each station. While scheduling of the special was at the discretion of each station, WSYX pre-empted both ABC World News and Nightline to air it.[59] The special was met with controversy for showing a bias against Barack Obama and focusing little on Republican candidate Mitt Romney, as opposed to showcasing both candidates equally. In particular, a writer for the political website Talking Points Memo felt that the special "sounded more like Fox News than local news." A Sinclair staff member disputed these claims, stating that "no one is disputing the facts of the stories that aired in the special", and that its decision on which markets to air the special was influenced by their "news value" and resonation with the public.[59]

Retransmission Disputes[edit]

Suddenlink[edit]

In the summer of 2006, Charter Communications streamlined its operations, which included selling off portions of its cable system which were "geographically non-strategic". Charter accounts in the Huntington-Charleston, West Virginia market area were purchased by Suddenlink Communications. Sinclair requested a $40 million one-time fee, and a one-dollar-per subscription per month fee from Suddenlink for retransmission rights of both WCHS-TV and WVAH-TV on the Suddenlink cable system.[60] This led to a protracted media battle and smear campaign between the two companies, and Sinclair pulled the two stations off the air on cable systems covering the neighboring Beckley, West Virginia market.[citation needed] After several weeks of negotiations, the two companies reached an agreement which allowed WCHS-TV and WVAH-TV to continue transmission over the Suddenlink cable system. The terms of the agreement were not released to the public.[61]

Mediacom[edit]

Cable TV company Mediacom filed an antitrust lawsuit against Sinclair on October 2006, claiming that Sinclair insisted on blanket carriage of 22 SBGI stations at all Mediacom cable companies where SBGI operates a TV station regardless of market differences. The District Court for the Southern District of Iowa denied Mediacom's injunction motion on October 24; Mediacom appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, but dropped the appeal on December 13.[62] Sinclair's retransmission agreement with Mediacom was originally set to expire on December 1, 2006, but Sinclair later extended the deadline to January 5, 2007. Despite the extension, the two sides remained at an impasse over how much money Mediacom should pay Sinclair for carriage of its stations. On January 4, the Federal Communications Commission's Media Bureau denied Mediacom's complaint, stating that Sinclair failed to negotiate with Mediacom in good faith. After failing to respond to Mediacom's offer to take the dispute to binding arbitration before the deadline, Sinclair pulled all 22 stations from Mediacom's lineups shortly after midnight on January 6.[63] Despite a plea from Iowa's Congressional delegation urging the two sides to submit to binding arbitration, Sinclair rejected the plea on January 11.[64] The two sides discussed the dispute in front of Iowa lawmakers on January 23.[65] On January 30, 2007, Senators Daniel Inouye, chairman of the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and Ranking Member Ted Stevens signed a letter addressed to Kevin Martin, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, directing him to resolve the issue.[66] The impasse ended on February 2 when Mediacom announced that it had reached a retransmission agreement with Sinclair for undisclosed terms. All 22 stations were restored to Mediacom systems shortly after the agreement was announced.[67] Mediacom lost 14,000 subscribers during the last quarter of 2006 and an additional 18,000 subscribers during the first quarter of 2007.[68]

In December 2009, Sinclair announced that it would pull all of its stations from Mediacom systems for the second time in three years if a deal was not reached by midnight on December 31. The impasse had threatened coverage of the January 5 Orange Bowl in Iowa, where the Hawkeyes played, and the January 7 2010 BCS National Championship Game in Alabama. Mediacom and lawmakers from Iowa and Alabama asked the FCC to intervene.[69] On December 31, Mediacom and Sinclair agreed to an eight-day extension of the retransmission agreement that permitted Sinclair's stations to remain on Mediacom until January 8.[70] Both sides reached a one-year retransmission agreement on January 7, one day before the interim agreement was set to expire.[71]

Time Warner Cable[edit]

Sinclair was also involved with retransmission negotiations with Time Warner Cable at the same time as the Mediacom dispute in 2006 and 2007, but the two sides reached an agreement on January 19, 2007.[72]

In November 2010, Sinclair announced that it would pull 33 of its stations in 21 cities from Time Warner Cable on January 1, 2011, if the two parties didn't come to an agreement.[73] The deadline was subsequently extended to January 14, 2011.[74] Regardless of the outcome, Time Warner Cable was obligated to carry Fox Network programming on its systems due to a deal reached with Fox earlier in 2010, but the agreement did not extend to syndicated and local programs on Sinclair's Fox affiliates.[75] The two companies reached an agreement on January 15, 2011, shortly after the deadline was extended another 24 hours.[76]

Comcast[edit]

Broadcasting & Cable reported on January 5, 2007, that Sinclair might pull 30 stations from Comcast systems after its retransmission agreement was slated to expire on February 5.[77] Comcast was granted an extension to March 1,[78][79] and again to March 10.[80] Comcast stated that it would not pay cash for retransmission rights, but was willing to barter, for example, giving free commercials for SBGI stations on Comcast cable channels.[81] On March 9, Comcast and Sinclair jointly announced a four-year deal for retransmission rights, expiring on March 1, 2011.[82]

The SBG and Comcast came to a new agreement for continued carriage on March 3, 2011; this agreement was negotiated without any public statements or announcements.[83][84]

Dish Network[edit]

Dish Network's retransmission agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group was slated to expire on August 13, 2012. If an agreement had not reached by that time, 74 Sinclair stations would have been blacked out, including the affiliates of three major networks. Dish Network states that Sinclair is "...seeking a massive price increase that would force Dish to pay more to carry Sinclair’s stations than it pays to any other broadcaster." Sinclair, meanwhile, has stated that it "believes significant doubt exists as to whether or not a new agreement will be reached with Dish." Dish Network has set up its own website regarding the dispute.[85] On August 16, Dish and Sinclair came to an agreement with no signal loss.[86]

DirecTV[edit]

DirecTV's retransmission agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group was slated to expire on February 28, 2013. If an agreement had not been reached by that date, 87 Sinclair stations were to be blacked out. Sinclair noted that they “...have been negotiating for quite some time in an effort to reach a new agreement, at this time it does not appear that these efforts will be successful. Although Sinclair does not believe that it is constructive to negotiate its private business relationships in public, Sinclair is informing the public in advance of the end of carriage because it is aware of the impact on a segment of the public from the end of the relationship between the Sinclair stations and DirecTV.” DirecTV states that “we will compensate Sinclair fairly, but our customers should not be forced to pay more than twice as much for the same programs that remain available completely free of charge over the air and online.”[87] The deal was reached on February 28, hours before the deal would have expired.[88]

Sinclair stations[edit]

Station affiliations[edit]

Network primary secondary sub-
channel
Fox 28
MyNetworkTV 19 1 4
CW 16 0 7
ABC 14
CBS 19
NBC 6
Independent 1
Azteca América 1
LATV 1
MundoFox 2
Telemundo 1
Univision 3
This TV 2 10

Many stations are owned outright by the company, but many others are affiliated through . The stations are affiliates of various television networks: ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. Sinclair also owned or managed several affiliates of the WB and UPN networks, which both launched in January 1995. In September 2006, the WB and UPN merged their operations into a new network, the CW. Eight of Sinclair's WB stations, along with independent KFBT (now KVCW) in Las Vegas, became affiliates of the new network. At the same time, Sinclair aligned 17 of its stations (ten former WB affiliates, six former UPN stations, and independent WFGX) with MyNetworkTV, a programming service owned by Fox's parent News Corporation. Sinclair's relationship with Fox/News Corporation was also strengthened after Sinclair agreed to a six-year affiliation renewal for its 19 Fox-affiliated stations. The deal also included flagship WBFF in Baltimore, despite Fox owning a station, MyNetworkTV affiliate WUTB, in the same market; however, Sinclair would later purchase WUTB.

Television stations[edit]

Stations are arranged alphabetically by state and by city of license.

Note: Two boldface asterisks appearing following a station's call letters (**) indicate a station built and signed on by Sinclair.

City of license / Market Station Channel TV (RF) Owned Since Primary affiliation
Birmingham - Tuscaloosa, AL WTTO 21 (28) 1995 The CW
WABM 68 (36) 2001 MyNetworkTV
WDBB 1
(satellite of WTTO)
17 (18) 1995 The CW
Bakersfield KBAK-TV 29 (33) 2013 CBS
KBFX-CD 58 (29) 2013 Fox
Fresno - Visalia KMPH-TV 26 (28) 2013 Fox
KFRE-TV 59 (36) 2013 The CW
Colorado Springs - Pueblo, CO KXRM-TV 21 (22) 2013 Fox
KXTU-LD 57 (20) 2012 The CW
Fort Pierce - West Palm Beach, FL WPEC 12 (13) 2012 CBS
WTVX 34 (34) 2012 The CW
MyNetworkTV (DT2)
WTCN-CA 43 (34.3) 2012 MyNetworkTV
WWHB-CA 48 (34.2) 2012 Azteca América
Pensacola, FL - Mobile, AL WEAR-TV 3 (17) 1997 ABC
WPMI-TV 2 15 (15) 2012 NBC
WFGX 35 (50) 2001 MyNetworkTV
WJTC 2 44 (45) 2012 Independent
St. Petersburg - Tampa WTTA 38 (32) 1998 MyNetworkTV
Tallahassee, FL - Thomasville, GA WTWC-TV 40 (40) 1998 NBC
Albany, GA WFXL 31 (12) 2013 Fox
Cedar Rapids - Waterloo -
Dubuque - Iowa City, IA
KGAN-TV 2 (51) 1998 CBS
KFXA 28 (27) 4 Fox
Des Moines KDSM-TV 17 (16) 1997 Fox
Sioux City KPTH 44 (49) 2013 Fox
KMEG 14 (39) 4 CBS
Boise KBOI-TV 2 (9) 2013 CBS
KYUU-LD 35 (28) 2013 The CW
Lewiston - Spokane KLEW-TV
(semi-satellite of KIMA)
3 (32) 2013 CBS
Champaign - Urbana -
Decatur - Springfield, IL
WICS 20 (42) 1998 ABC
WICD
(semi-satellite of WICS)
15 (41) 1998 ABC
WRSP-TV 55 (44) 4 Fox
WCCU
(satellite of WRSP)
27 (26) 4 Fox
WBUI 22 (23) 4 The CW
Peoria - Bloomington, IL WHOI 19 (19) 2013 ABC
WYZZ-TV 1, 3 43 (28) 1996 Fox
Wichita KSAS-TV 24 (26) 2012 Fox
KMTW 36 (35) 4 MyNetworkTV
Danville - Lexington, KY WDKY-TV 56 (31) 2001 Fox
Paducah, KY - Cape Girardeau, MO -
Harrisburg, IL
KBSI 23 (22) 1998 Fox
WDKA 49 (49) 4 MyNetworkTV
Portland, ME WGME-TV 13 (38) 1998 CBS
WPFO 23 (23) 5 Fox
Baltimore WBFF ** 45 (46) 1971 Fox
WNUV 1 54 (40) 1994 The CW
WUTB 2 24 (41) 2013 MyNetworkTV
Flint - Saginaw - Bay City, MI WEYI-TV 6 25 (30) 2013 NBC
WBSF 1 46 (46) 2013 The CW
WSMH 66 (16) 1996 Fox
Kalamazoo, Michigan - Grand Rapids, MI WWMT 3 (8) 2012 CBS
The CW (DT2)
Marquette, MI WLUC-TV 6 (35) 2013 NBC
Fox (DT2)
Traverse City - Cadillac - Sault Ste. Marie, MI WPBN-TV 7 (47) 2013 NBC
WTOM-TV
(Satellite of WPBN)
4 (35) 2013 NBC
WGTU 1 29 (29) 2013 ABC
WGTQ 1
(Satellite of WGTU)
8 (8) 2013 ABC
Minneapolis - St. Paul WUCW 23 (22) 1998 The CW
Columbia - Jefferson City KRCG 13 (12) 2013 CBS
Hannibal, MO - Quincy, IL KHQA-TV 7 (7) 2013 CBS
ABC (DT2)
Kirksville, MO - Ottumwa, IA KTVO 3 (33) 2013 ABC
CBS (DT2)
St. Louis KDNL-TV 30 (31) 1997 ABC
Omaha KPTM 42 (43) 2013 Fox
KXVO 15 (39) 4 The CW
Las Vegas KVMY 21 (22) 1997 MyNetworkTV
KVCW 33 (29) 2000 The CW
Reno KRNV-DT 4 (7) 7 NBC
KRXI-TV 11 (44) 2013 Fox
KAME-TV 2 21 (20) 2013 MyNetworkTV
Elko, NV KENV-DT
(Semi-satellite of KRNV)
10 (10) 7 NBC
Buffalo WUTV 29 (14) 1996 Fox
WNYO-TV 49 (49) 2001 MyNetworkTV
Rochester WHAM-TV 2 13 (13) 2013 ABC
The CW (DT2)
WUHF 31 (28) 1995 Fox
Schenectady - Albany - Troy, NY WRGB 6 (6) 2012 CBS
WCWN 45 (43) 2012 The CW
Syracuse WSTM-TV 3 (24) 2013 NBC
WTVH 5 (47) 8 CBS
WSTQ-LP 14 (3.2) 2013 The CW
WNYS-TV 43 (44) 9 MyNetworkTV
WSYT 68 (19) 9
(previously owned
from 1998–2013)
Fox
Asheville - Greenville - Spartanburg WLOS 13 (13) 1997 ABC
WMYA-TV 1 40 (14) 1997 MyNetworkTV
Raleigh - Durham - Fayetteville WLFL 22 (27) 1994 The CW
WRDC 28 (28) 1995 MyNetworkTV
Winston-Salem - Greensboro - High Point WXLV-TV 45 (29) 1996 ABC
WMYV 48 (33) 2001 MyNetworkTV
Cincinnati WKRC-TV 12 (12) 2012 CBS
The CW (DT2)
WSTR-TV 2 64 (33) 1995 MyNetworkTV
Columbus - Chillicothe WSYX 6 (48) 1997 ABC
WTTE ** 1 28 (36) 1984 Fox
WWHO 10 53 (46) 2011 The CW
Dayton WKEF 22 (51) 1998 ABC
WRGT-TV 1 45 (30) 2001 Fox
MyNetworkTV (DT2)
Steubenville, OH - Wheeling, WV WTOV-TV 9 (9) 2013 NBC
Toledo, OH WNWO-TV 24 (49) 2013 NBC
Oklahoma City KOKH-TV 25 (24) 2003 Fox
KOCB 34 (33) 1996 The CW
Bend, OR KABH-CA 15 2013 Univision
Eugene - Coos Bay - Roseburg, OR KVAL-TV 13 (25) 2013 CBS
KCBY-TV
(satellite of KVAL)
11 (21) 2013 CBS
KPIC 11
(satellite of KVAL)
4 (19) 2013 CBS
KMTR 16 (17) 4 NBC
The CW (DT2)
KMCB
(satellite of KMTR)
23 (22) 4 NBC
The CW (DT2)
KTCW
(satellite of KMTR)
46 (45) 4 NBC
The CW (DT2)
Portland, OR KATU 2 (43) 2013 ABC
KUNP 16 (16) 2013 Univision
Medford, OR KTVL 10 (10) 2012 CBS
The CW (DT2)
Harrisburg WLYH-TV 15 (23) 12 The CW
WHP-TV 21 (21) 2012 CBS
Johnstown - Altoona, PA WJAC-TV 6 (34) 2013 NBC
Pittsburgh, PA WPGH-TV 53 (43) 1991 Fox
WPMY ** 22 (42) 2000
(previously owned
from 1978–1991)
MyNetworkTV
Charleston, SC WTAT-TV 1 24 (24) 1995 Fox
WMMP 36 (36) 1998 MyNetworkTV
Columbia WACH 57 (48) 2013 Fox
Myrtle Beach, SC - Florence, SC WPDE-TV 15 (16) 2013 ABC
WWMB 6 21 (21) 2013 The CW
Chattanooga WTVC 9 (9) 2012 ABC
Nashville WZTV 17 (15) 1994 Fox
WUXP 30 (21) 2000 MyNetworkTV
WNAB 58 (23) 13 The CW
Amarillo, TX - Clovis, NM KVII-TV 7 (7) 2013 ABC
The CW (DT2)
KVIH-TV
(Satellite of KVII)
12 (12) 2013 ABC
The CW (DT2)
Austin KEYE-TV 42 (43) 2012 CBS
Telemundo (DT2)
Beaumont - Port Arthur, TX KBTV-TV 2 4 (40) 2012 Fox
KFDM 6 (21) 2012 CBS
The CW (DT2)
El Paso KDBC-TV 4 (18) 2013 CBS
MyNetworkTV (DT2)
KFOX-TV 14 (15) 2013 Fox
Harlingen - Brownsville - McAllen, TX KGBT-TV 4 (31) 2013 CBS
San Antonio WOAI-TV 4 (48) 2012 NBC
KABB 29 (30) 1997 Fox
KMYS 2 35 (32) 2001 The CW
Salt Lake City KUTV 2 (34) 2012 CBS
St. George, UT KMYU 12 (9) 2012 MyNetworkTV
Norfolk - Portsmouth - Newport News, VA WTVZ-TV 33 (33) 1996 MyNetworkTV
Richmond WRLH-TV 35 (26) 1998 Fox
MyNetworkTV (DT2)
Seattle - Tacoma, WA KOMO-TV 4 (38) 2013 ABC
KUNS-TV 51 (50) 2013 Univision
Yakima - Pasco - Kennewick KIMA-TV 29 (33) 2013 CBS
The CW (DT2)
KEPR-TV
(semi-satellite of KIMA)
19 (18) 2013 CBS
The CW (DT2)
KUNW-CD 2 (30) 2013 Univision
KVVK-CD
(satellite of KUNW)
15 (15) 2013 Univision
KORX-CA
(satellite of KUNW)
16 2013 Univision
Charleston - Huntington, WV WCHS-TV 8 (41) 1997 ABC
WVAH-TV 1 11 (19) 1994 Fox
Madison WMSN-TV 47 (49) 2002 Fox
Milwaukee WVTV 18 (18) 2000 The CW
WCGV-TV 24 (25) 1995 MyNetworkTV

Notes:

  • 1 These stations are nominally owned by Cunningham Broadcasting and operated by Sinclair under local marketing agreements. However, Cunningham Broadcasting's stock is almost completely controlled by trusts in the names of members of Sinclair's founding Smith family.
  • 2 These stations are nominally owned by Deerfield Media and operated by Sinclair under local marketing agreements.
  • 3 WYZZ is owned by Cunningham Broadcasting, but operated by Nexstar Broadcasting Group under a local marketing agreement.
  • 4 Via local marketing agreements, Sinclair operates these stations, which are owned by local independent or private companies.
  • 5 WPFO is owned by Corporate Media Consultants Group (itself 49% owned by Max Media) and operated by Sinclair. The station's license assets are in the process of being transferred to Cunningham Broadcasting, pending FCC approval.
  • 6 These stations are nominally owned by Howard Stirk Holdings (owned by conservative talk show commentator Armstrong Williams) and operated by Sinclair under local marketing agreements.
  • 7 KRNV is owned by Intermountain West Communications Company and operated by Sinclair. The station's license assets are in the process of being transferred to Cunningham Broadcasting, pending FCC approval.
  • 8 WTVH is owned by Granite Broadcasting Corporation and operated by Sinclair under a shared services agreement.
  • 9 WSYT is owned by Bristlecone Broadcasting and operated by Sinclair under a transitional services agreement for six months (until May 2014), following the completion of the sale. WNYS is owned by RKM Media, and its LMA was also assigned to Bristlecone.
  • 10 WWHO is owned by Manhan Media and operated by Sinclair under a shared services agreement.
  • 11 KPIC's license is held by South West Oregon TV Broadcasting Corp., which is 50% owned by Sinclair and 50% owned by California Oregon Broadcasting, Inc.
  • 12 WLYH is owned by Nexstar, but operated by Sinclair under a local marketing agreement.
  • 13 WNAB is owned by Tennessee Broadcasting, LP, an affiliate company of Beverly Hills-based Lambert Broadcasting, but its operations are managed by Sinclair under an outsourcing agreement. Sinclair filed an application to acquire the station outright under an FCC "failing station" waiver in July 2005 but the FCC has not acted on the application as of 2014—and will likely either reject the application or continue to not act on it unless Sinclair sells off either WZTV or WUXP due to current rules prohibiting one company from directly owning more than two full-power television stations in the same market.

Radio stations[edit]

AM Stations FM Stations
Market Station Owned Since Current Format
Seattle-Tacoma KVI-570 2013 Conservative talk
KOMO-1000 2013 All-news
KOMO-FM-97.7 1 2013 Simulcasts KOMO (AM)
KPLZ-FM-101.5 2013 Hot adult contemporary

Notes:

  • 1 KOMO-FM is owned by South Sound Broadcasting, but operated by Sinclair under a local marketing agreement.

Former Sinclair-owned stations[edit]

City of license / Market Station Channel TV (RF) Years Owned Current Ownership Status
Stockton - Sacramento, CA KOVR 13 (25) 1997–2005 CBS owned-and-operated (O&O)
Tallahassee, FL - Thomasville, GA WTXL-TV 27 (27) 2001–20061 ABC affiliate owned by Calkins Media
Idaho Falls - Pocatello KIDK 3 (36) 2013 CBS affiliate owned by VistaWest Media, LLC
(operated via LMA by News-Press & Gazette Company)
KXPI-LD 34 (34) 2013 Fox affiliate owned by VistaWest Media, LLC
(operated via LMA by News-Press & Gazette Company)
Bloomington - Indianapolis WIIB 36 (27) 1988–1997 ION owned-and-operated (O&O), WIPX-TV
WTTV 4 (48) 1997–2002 The CW affiliate owned by Tribune Broadcasting
Kokomo, Indiana WTTK
(satellite of WTTV)
29 (29) 1997–2002 The CW affiliate owned by Tribune Broadcasting
Springfield - Holyoke, MA WGGB-TV 40 (40) 1998–2007 ABC affiliate owned by Gormally Broadcasting, LLC
New Bedford, MA - Providence, RI WLWC 28 (22) 2012–2013 The CW affiliate owned by OTA Broadcasting
Lansing, Michigan WLAJ 53 (51) 2012–2013 ABC affiliate owned by Shield Media, LLC
(operated via LMA by Media General)
Plattsburgh, N.Y. - Burlington, VT WPTZ 5 (14) 1997–1998 NBC affiliate owned by Hearst Television
Greenville, Tennessee (Tri-Cities, TN-VA) WEMT 39 (38) 2000–2006 Fox affiliate owned by Esteem Broadcasting, LLC
(operated via LMA by Bonten Media Group)
Jacksonville - Tyler - Longview, TX KETK-TV 56 (22) 1998–20042 NBC affiliate owned by Communications Corporation of America
Hartford, VT - Hanover, N.H. WNNE
(semi-satellite of WPTZ)
31 (25) 1997–1998 NBC affiliate owned by Hearst Television
  • 1These stations were owned by third parties, but were operated by Sinclair during these years.
  • 2Non-license assets were purchased by Communications Corporation of America in 1999; license sold to ComCorp in 2004.

Affiliated companies[edit]

Chesapeake TV[edit]

Chesapeake Television
Type Public subsidiary
Industry TV Broadcast
Key people Steve Pruett (COO)
Services advertising
Parent Sinclair Broadcast Group

Chesapeake Television is a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group that owns smaller market stations. Chesapeake was founded in 2013 after a run of acquisitions by Sinclair in the smaller markets.

As early as January 2013, SBG was looking at forming a new station group for smaller market stations.[89] With the announcement of the purchase of Barrington Stations in February 2013, SBG announced its new Chesapeake TV subsidiary for smaller markets to be headed by Steve Pruett, former CEO of Communications Corporation of America and the current Fox affiliates board chairman.[16]

Sinclair Television Group[edit]

Sinclair Television Group
Type Public subsidiary
Industry TV broadcasting
Key people Steve Marks (COO)
Services advertising
Parent Sinclair Broadcast Group

Sinclair Television Group is a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group that owns mid-sized market TV stations.[16]

Glencairn/Cunningham[edit]

Cunningham Broadcasting is an affiliated television station owning company via relationship with owners of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group. Per a SEC filing, Cunningham is owned by the Carolyn C. Smith estate, the estate of SBG's controlling shareholders' parent, and trusts for the children of SBG's controlling shareholders. All six Cunningham stations have LMAs with Sinclair stations. Based on these arrangements, Glencairn/Cunningham has served merely as a shell corporation with the sole purpose of evading FCC ownership rules.[90]

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External links[edit]