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Posts Tagged ‘Sinclair Broadcast Group’

FCC Approves Sinclair’s Allbritton Buy

sinclair_304The FCC has approved Sinclair Broadcast Group’s purchase of Allbritton Communications.

The sixteen page document released by the FCC also denied several petitions against the merger.

>UPDATE: William Lake, chief of the FCC Media Bureau released a statement outlining the terms of the deal. Which he wrote was approved “after the parties agreed to amend the proposal in three markets to comply with our ownership rules:

Consistent with DOJ review, Sinclair will divest the station in the Harrisburg market.

To comply with our local TV ownership rule, Sinclair will deliver the programming of stations in the Birmingham and Charleston markets via digital multicasting. This means that Sinclair will put the full programming of the stations on the digital signal of the stations it already owns. The licenses of the Allbritton stations that previously broadcast that programming will therefore be returned to the Commission. Most importantly, consumers will lose no programming currently available to them. Read more

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Sinclair Announces Funding for Allbritton Purchase

sinclair_allbrittonSinclair Broadcast Group announced it has lined up the funding to buy Allbritton Communications.

In a press release, the station group announced Sinclair Television Group, a subsidiary, has closed its private offering of $550 million worth of senior unsecured notes due in 2024. Sinclair said it plans to use the money from the funds along with $400 million in loans, a revolving credit line and cash to pay for the deal.

Last July, Sinclair announced it was buying Allbritton for $985 million.

The station group reportedly cleared the last hurdle blocking approval of the deal last week by agreeing to a settlement with the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. As part of the deal, Sinclair agreed to sell Harrisburg, PA, ABC affiliate WHTM as soon as the purchase goes through.

Sinclair Launches College Sports Network

sinclair_304Sinclair Broadcast Group announced today it’s getting into the sports programming game by launching a collegiate sports initiative called the American Sports Network.

The network plans to air its programming on Sinclair’s CW and MyNet stations and has deals with Division I conferences like Conference USA, the Colonial Athletic Association, Big South Conference, Southern Conference and Patriot League.

The initiative, headed up by Doron Gorshein, CEO of Sinclair Networks, will air live football, basketball, soccer and other games. The station group also added, “the Company’s plans may include potential development of new cable networks and digital platforms focused on these new content initiatives” if it can secure carriage agreements with distributors.

“This is another example of our foray into the content creation business,” David Smith, president and CEO of Sinclair said in a statement. “The launch of ASN will provide important and valuable content that is directed at serving our local communities, while improving the value of our CW and MyNet affiliates. We are confident in Doron’s ability to lead this endeavor, given his acumen in this arena.”

Sinclair Reportedly Clears Last Hurdle Before Closing Deal for Allbritton

sinclair_304The Wall Street Journal reports Sinclair Broadcast Group is moving closer to sealing its deal for Allbritton Communications by settling a lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.

The DOJ thought Sinclair’s purchase of ABC affiliate WHTM in a market where it already owns CBS affiliate WHP and CW affiliate WLYH would affect the cost of advertising in the market.

Last month Sinclair agreed to sell the station to Media General when the Allbritton deal is finalized.

“The rivalry between the stations has helped to constrain advertising rates, and without the divestiture, advertisers on stations in this area would likely have paid higher prices,” said Bill Baer, assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.

The settlement comes less than two weeks before a one-year clock will run out for Sinclair to get regulatory approval for its Allbritton deal. If approval isn’t reached in time, Sinclair has said the deal may not close.

The settlement will “pave the way in fact for a DOJ approval,” wrote Evercore analyst Doug Arthur. “Next stop: the FCC,” referring to the Federal Communications Commission. Read more

Seven Months Later, Sinclair’s WNWO Back on Buckeye Cable

sinclair_buckeyeThe seven month long retrans dispute between Block Communications owned Buckeye Cable and Sinclair owned Toledo NBC affiliate WNWO has been resolved.

At times, the tensions in the dispute went public with Buckeye depicting Sinclair as the Grinch in an ad in Block owned newspaper, The Blade. Sinclair countered by calling Buckeye’s tactics “juvenile” and “silly antics.”

Sinclair released a statement that said in part, “In addition to customary terms and conditions, the agreement provides for Buckeye to pay a signing bonus to WNWO-TV, which is in an amount that more than covers the legal fees incurred as a result of a complaint filed by Buckeye at the Federal Communications Commission alleging that Sinclair had failed to negotiate in good faith.”

While The Blade reported, “Both parties also agreed to withdraw the complaints they had filed against each other with the FCC.”

Sharyl Attkisson to Work as Investigative Reporter for Sinclair

SharylAttkissonFormer CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson will work for Sinclair Broadcasting as an independent freelance investigative reporter.

Attkisson quit CBS in March. At the time, Politico’s Dylan Byers reported Attkisson “had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network’s liberal bias, an outsize influence by the network’s corporate partners and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting, several sources said.”

In an email obtained by FTVLive, which first reported the story, Scott Livingston head of news for Sinclair wrote, “Sharyl will focus on stories that follow the money and waste watch type of investigations.” Waste Watch is a Sinclair investigative franchise.

Livingston told TVSpy Attkisson would file one to two pieces a month starting next week and that all Sinclair stations would be strongly encouraged to run them. He added, Attkisson “fits with our commitment to tracking the truth and being our advocate for the taxpayer.”

Q1 Earnings: Sinclair Broadcast Revenues Up 48%

sinclair logoSinclair Broadcast Group reported $373.9 million in net broadcast revenues for the first quarter of 2014, a 47.8% increase compared to the year-ago quarter.

Operating income for the quarter was $81 million, up 27.2% from the prior year period. Political revenues were $6.1 million compared to $0.9 million in the first quarter of 2013. Sinclair reports $8.2 million in revenues generated by the Super Bowl, and $3.7 million in revenues generated by the Sochi Olympics.

“There were many positives in the first quarter that reflect our solid underlying fundamentals, despite the slower than usual start to the year due to the impact of the severe and frigid weather in many of our markets,” Sinclair president and CEO David Smith said in a statement. “The first quarter benefited from incremental Super Bowl, Olympic and retransmission consent fee revenues, while political revenues exceeded expectations. We also benefited from lower television operating expenses across many of our stations. Our main focus now is on closing the Allbritton station acquisition and lobbying to reform broadcast ownership regulatory inequality.”

Sinclair Makes Management Changes at Toledo Station

sinclair_304Sinclair Broadcasting has installed a new management team at its Toledo NBC affiliate WNWO “as part of its plan to beef up the station’s position in the marketplace.”

According to Toledo paper The Blade, Sinclair brought in five managers from WPTA in Fort Wayne, IN. WPTA is owned by Malara Broadcast Group.

Charity Freeman has been named general sales manager at WNWO. She previously was host of a WPTA-produced program called INsight.

Nicole Hahn, a producer at WPTA, has been named news director at WNWO, replacing Jim Blue, who is a Channel 24 co-anchor. Mr. Blue will continue to co-anchor the news at WNWO and become managing editor.

Sinclair has also created two new positions at Channel 24 that will be filled by former WPTA personnel. Read more

Sinclair Offers to Sell Stations Ahead of FCC Decision

sinclair_304Sinclair Broadcast Group told the FCC it will restructure its deal to buy Allbritton by selling some stations and stop providing services to others in order to comply with the proposed ban on shared service agreements.

Sinclair said it would sell WHP (CBS) in Harrisburg, PA, WMMP (MyTV) in Charleston, SC, WABM (MyTV) in Birmingham, AL, and would stop providing services to WTAT (FOX) in Charleston, SC, and would give the buyer of WHP the rights to an existing agreement to provide services to Harrisburg CW affiliate WLYH.

“The proposed changes to the transaction will have an immaterial impact on Sinclair as a whole and on the Allbritton transaction in particular,” David Smith, Sinclair’s president and CEO said in a statement. “Although we believe the shared services arrangements that were contemplated would have provided significant public interest benefits, including promoting minority ownership of broadcast stations.”

FCC Expected to Vote on Shared Service Agreement Ban

FCC_304Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler is expected to ask the FCC to vote on a ban of some shared-service agreements in the commissions next meeting.

The proposal is also expected to ban local stations from teaming up in retransmission negotiations.

Bloomberg reports Sinclair Broadcasting, along with several other station groups including Nexstar and LIN Media would be forced to give up some stations if the proposal passes.

Sinclair’s revenue last year from the type of arrangement the officials said Wheeler is most directly targeting amounted to $36 million, according to the filing. Sinclair reported $1.36 billion in revenue last year.

Sinclair fell 1.9 percent to $29.51 at 10:12 a.m. New York time. Nexstar lost 1.7 percent to $42.84, while Lin Media declined less than 1 percent to $23.09.

Wheeler needs to win a vote to pass the change at the FCC, where he is part of the three-member Democratic majority. The agency’s next meeting is March 31 in Washington. Read more

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