Sinclair Broadcast Group

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Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
Sinclair Broadcast Group
Formerly called
Chesapeake Television Corporation
IndustryBroadcast media
Mass media
private equity
FoundedApril 11, 1971
Baltimore, Maryland
FounderJulian Sinclair Smith
HeadquartersHunt Valley, Maryland, US
Key people
David D. Smith
(Chairman & CEO)
Christopher Ripley, CFO
Productsbroadcasting equipment
Production output
sports & news programming
ServicesBroadcast television
Revenue$765 M USD (2011)[1]
$75.8 M USD (2011)[1]
Total assets$1.57 B USD (2011)[1]
OwnerSmith family (controlling)
DivisionsSinclair Networks
Sinclair Original Programming
SubsidiariesSinclair Television Group
Chesapeake Television
Ring of Honor
Keyser Capital
Sinclair Investment Group
  (Redirected from SBG)
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"SBG" redirects here. For other uses, see SBG (disambiguation).
Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
Sinclair Broadcast Group
Formerly called
Chesapeake Television Corporation
IndustryBroadcast media
Mass media
private equity
FoundedApril 11, 1971
Baltimore, Maryland
FounderJulian Sinclair Smith
HeadquartersHunt Valley, Maryland, US
Key people
David D. Smith
(Chairman & CEO)
Christopher Ripley, CFO
Productsbroadcasting equipment
Production output
sports & news programming
ServicesBroadcast television
Revenue$765 M USD (2011)[1]
$75.8 M USD (2011)[1]
Total assets$1.57 B USD (2011)[1]
OwnerSmith family (controlling)
DivisionsSinclair Networks
Sinclair Original Programming
SubsidiariesSinclair Television Group
Chesapeake Television
Ring of Honor
Keyser Capital
Sinclair Investment Group

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 154 stations across the country (165 after all currently proposed sales are approved) in nearly 80 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.


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.

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]

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 also gave 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 acquired 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 operated by Barrington also came under the management of Sinclair.[16] Sinclair operates the former Cox and Barrington stations through a subsidiary, Chesapeake Television, which focuses 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 inherited Barrington's headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois. Concurrently with the Barrington acquisition, Sinclair originally planned 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 would 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 owned 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 took 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] The deal was initially met with 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 also took over the operations of KXVO in Omaha and KMEG in Sioux City, which had been 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 would 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-TV) was to operate the station through shared services and joint sales agreements. Included in the deal was the existing LMA for WWCP-TV to operate WATM-TV, which would 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 sold 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 included 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] Unable to find buyers for stations that it tried to sell in the two markets, on May 29, Sinclair announced a proposal to relinquish the licenses of three ABC affiliates (WCFT-TV in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, WJSU-TV in Anniston, Alabama, — both associated with Birmingham ABC affiliate WBMA-LD — and WCIV in Charleston) to the FCC, and move ABC programming to the company's existing MyNetworkTV-affiliated stations in those markets, WABM and WMMP, in order to expedite approval of the deal.[41][42] On June 23, the company announced its intention to sell WHTM-TV in Harrisburg to Media General for $83.4 million. The company also announced the sale of the non-license assets of WTAT to Cunningham.[43] After nearly a year of delays, the deal was approved by the FCC on July 24, 2014.[44] Sinclair completed the sale on August 1.[45]

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—were to be sold to Cunningham Broadcasting; a fourth station, WTLF in Tallahassee, was to be purchased by Deerfield Media. These four stations would have been 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.[46][47] New Age Media and MPS Media requested the dismissal of its applications to sell the stations on October 31, 2014;[48][49][50][51][52][53] the next day, Sinclair purchased the stations' non-license assets and began operating them through a master service agreement.[54][55]

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.[56] On November 20, it was announced that Cunningham Broadcasting will acquire the license assets for $3.4 million.[57]

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. The company is expected to replace the simulcast of KTVU's 10pm newscast airing on Sinclair-owned KRXI-TV with a KRNV-produced newscast.[58] On December 19, it was announced that Cunningham Broadcasting will acquire the license assets of KRNV and its semi-satellite in Elko, KENV-DT, for $6.5 million.[59][60]

On March 24, 2014, Frontier Radio Management reached a deal to sell Macon, Georgia Fox affiliate WGXA to Sinclair for $33 million.[61][62]

Sinclair signed an agreement in June 2014 to carry GetTV in 33 markets by the end of September.[63] In July, Sinclair announced its American Sports Network (ASN), operating within its Sinclair Networks division; this service, which produces and distributes college sports broadcasts, is primarily carried on Sinclair stations.[64] ASN is a part of Sinclair's foray into original, non-news content creation beyond Ring of Honor wrestling and school sports, and the company announced in August a new division, Sinclair Original Programming, concentrating on entertainment and commercial content. Also the company announced plans for a future cable news network. The Original Programming division chief operating officer was announced as Arthur Hasson.[65]

On August 20, 2014, Sinclair announced that it would swap WTTA in Tampa Bay and KXRM-TV and KXTU-LD in Colorado Springs to Media General in exchange for WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island, WLUK-TV and WCWF in Green Bay, and WTGS in Savannah, Georgia. The deal is part of Media General's merger with LIN Media, the owner at that time of WLUK and WCWF and operator of WTGS, as both Media General and LIN owned stations in Providence, Green Bay, and Savannah.[66][67] The swap was approved by the FCC alongside the Media General-LIN merger on December 12, 2014.[68]

On September 3, 2014, Sinclair announced the purchase of Las Vegas NBC affiliate KSNV-DT from Intermountain West Communications Company for $120 million. As Sinclair already owns a duopoly in Las Vegas (KVMY and KVCW), the company will sell the license assets (though not the programming) of one of the three stations to comply with FCC ownership restrictions, with the divested station's programming being relocated to the other stations.[69] The purchase of KSNV's non-license assets was completed on November 1, 2014.[54]

On September 11, 2014, the license assets of WCIV were sold to Howard Stirk Holdings (pending FCC approval) and aside from sharing studio space with WMMP (which will retain the ABC affiliation and current programming of WCIV), will have no operational control from Sinclair, saving the station from being forfeited back to the FCC.[70][71][72] Similar sales were filed with the FCC for WBMA-LD satellite stations WCFT-TV on September 24[73] and WJSU-TV on September 28.[74]


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.[75][76]

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."[77][78] 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."[75][77]

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.[79] 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.[80] 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.[81] Following the incident, Sinclair fired its Washington bureau chief Jon Lieberman for publicly criticizing the film in The Baltimore Sun as "biased political propaganda."[82]

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.[83] 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.[84][85]

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.[86] 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.[86]

Retransmission Disputes[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.[87] 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.[88]


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.[89] 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.[90] Despite a plea from Iowa's Congressional delegation urging the two sides to submit to binding arbitration, Sinclair rejected the plea on January 11.[91] The two sides discussed the dispute in front of Iowa lawmakers on January 23.[92] 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.[93] 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.[94] Mediacom lost 14,000 subscribers during the last quarter of 2006 and an additional 18,000 subscribers during the first quarter of 2007.[95]

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.[96] 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.[97] Both sides reached a one-year retransmission agreement on January 7, one day before the interim agreement was set to expire.[98]

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.[99]

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.[100] The deadline was subsequently extended to January 14, 2011.[101] 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.[102] The two companies reached an agreement on January 15, 2011, shortly after the deadline was extended another 24 hours.[103]


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.[104] Comcast was granted an extension to March 1,[105][106] and again to March 10.[107] 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.[108] On March 9, Comcast and Sinclair jointly announced a four-year deal for retransmission rights, expiring on March 1, 2011.[109]

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.[110][111]

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.[112] On August 16, Dish and Sinclair came to an agreement with no signal loss.[113]


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.”[114] The deal was reached on February 28, hours before the deal would have expired.[115]

Sinclair stations[edit]

Many stations are owned outright by the company, but many others are affiliated through a local marketing agreement. 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.


Chesapeake TV[edit]

Chesapeake Television
Public subsidiary
IndustryTV Broadcast
Key people
Steve Pruett (COO)
ParentSinclair 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.[116] 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] The four stations & LMA purchased from Cox Media and the stations from Barrington were the initial stations in Chesapeake.[117]


City of License / marketStationChannel
Years ownedAffiliation
Reno, NevadaKRXI-TV11 (44)2013-Fox
KAME-TV21 (20)N/AMyNetworkTV owned by Deerfield Media
(operated under an LMA
Steubenville, OH - Wheeling, W.V.WTOV-TV9 (9)2013-NBC
Johnstown - Altoona, PAWJAC-TV6 (34)
El PasoKFOX-TV14 (15)Fox[118]

Sinclair Television Group[edit]

Sinclair Television Group
Public subsidiary
IndustryTV broadcasting
Key people
Steve Marks (COO)
ParentSinclair Broadcast Group

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

Equity holdings[edit]

Affiliated companies[edit]

Affiliated companies in the case of Sinclair Broadcasting Group (SBG) are corporations formed to hold ownership of TV stations, where SBG would run afoul of FCC ownership regulations, then sign Local marketing agreement to run the stations.

Cunningham Broadcasting[edit]

Cunningham Broadcasting, formerly Glencairn, 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.[120]

Howard Stirk Holdings[edit]

Howard Stirk Holdings is a TV station licensing holding company formed for the acquisition of a few of the Barrington Stations and is owned by Armstrong Williams, founder and CEO of communications firm The Graham Williams Group.[16]

On December 4, 2014, the FCC approved the transfer of station licenses for WMMP, Charleston, South Carolina, WCFT-TV, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and WJSU-TV, Anniston, Alabama from Sinclair Broadcasting to Howard Stirk Holdings, foregoing any operational agreements.[121][122]



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External links[edit]