David D. Smith

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David D. Smith
David Deniston Smith

(1950-09-01) September 1, 1950 (age 72)
TitleExecutive chairman, Sinclair Broadcast Group
Political partyRepublican[citation needed]
SpouseJane Smith[1]
ParentJulian Sinclair Smith

David Deniston Smith (born September 1, 1950) is an American businessman who is the executive chairman of Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBGI) since January 2017, having been its president and CEO from September 1990 to January 2017.[2]

Early life[edit]

David Deniston Smith[3] is the son of Julian Sinclair Smith (1921–1993), founder of Sinclair Broadcast Group, and Carolyn Beth Cunningham.[4] He has three brothers, Frederick, J. Duncan and Robert.[4]


Smith began his career "selling pornographic videos in Baltimore's redlight district during the 1970s."[5] He founded Comark Communications in 1978.[6]

Smith served as the chief executive officer and president of Sinclair Television Group, Inc. from 1988 to January 2017.[7] He "built Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. into the largest owner of television stations in the U.S.,"[7] and he was profiled by the New York Times in 1998.[8] He has served as its executive chairman of SBGI since January 1, 2017. It has been reported that every news station under Sinclair's umbrella is required to syndicate commentary that comports with its owners’ ideological views.[9][1]

In September 2013, his shareholding in SBGI was valued at $268 million.[4] His total calculated compensation was $5,206,439 as of fiscal year 2016.[10]


In an August 1996 prostitution sting, Smith was charged with committing an "unnatural and perverted sex act" (oral sex) in a Sinclair company vehicle. He was sentenced to community service, which was fulfilled by having Sinclair station WBFF produce reports on a local drug counseling program.[11][12]

Prior to Ajit Pai's appointment as chairman of the FCC, Smith had met with Pai to discuss deregulation of the FCC's media ownership rules. This meeting, plus Sinclair having been granted additional access to Donald Trump's presidential campaign, resulted in accusations that Sinclair was currying favor with the Trump administration in exchange for deregulation of the industry.[13][14][15]


  1. ^ Brown, Sloane (22 January 2011). "Closet Secrets". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  2. ^ "David D. Smith -". sbgi.net. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  3. ^ "SBGI Company Profile & Executives – Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. Cl A". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Morrell, Alex (28 September 2013). "Who Got Rich This Week: The Owners Of Two Family-Run Businesses With Decades Of Broadcasting And Retail Experience". Forbes. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  5. ^ Hylton, Wil S. (November 6, 2005). "Not Necessarily the News". GQ. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  6. ^ "Bloomberg Executive Profile – David D. Smith". Bloomberg. 2017-08-14.
  7. ^ a b Wilen, Holden (November 2, 2016). "Sinclair's David Smith to step down as CEO". Baltimore Business Journal. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  8. ^ Carter, Bill (1998-10-04). "Is Television's Future In This Man's Hands?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
  9. ^ "News Anchors at Sinclair stations". New York Magazine. March 8, 2018. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  10. ^ "David D. Smith: Executive Profile & Biography". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
  11. ^ Boehlert, Eric. "Sleaze and smear at Sinclair". Salon. Retrieved 2017-07-30.
  12. ^ "Broadcasting official charged in sex stakeout Sinclair president, woman arrested in company car". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
  13. ^ Battaglio, Stephen (May 8, 2017). "Sinclair Broadcast Group to buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion plus debt". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  14. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (May 8, 2017). "Sinclair Broadcast Group Sets $3.9 Billion Deal to Acquire Tribune Media". Variety. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  15. ^ Johnson, Ted (May 8, 2017). "Sinclair Will Come Under Scrutiny as It Seeks Approval for Tribune Merger". Variety. Retrieved May 10, 2017.