A sad day: Sinclair Broadcasting gains deeper footing in America’s living rooms

An excerpt from today’s Morning Media Newsfeed, produced by AdWeek:

Sinclair Broadcast Group will acquire Tribune Media Company, giving the Baltimore-based station group its first properties in the nation’s top five markets, including storied stations WGN in Chicago, KTLA in Los Angeles and WPIX in New York. The deal is valued at $3.9 billion, plus $2.7 billion in debt. (TVSpy)

Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley didn’t mince words: WGN America’s programming focus will be very different once its acquisition of Tribune Media is completed. The Baltimore-based station owner has great ambition for using the heft of its expanded national footprint to launch new businesses, potentially even an MVPD-like bundle of channels, but high-end scripted originals will no longer be a priority if Sinclair and Tribune secure federal approval to tie the knot. (Variety)

WGNA “is already going to be shifting its strategy away from high-cost originals into more cost-effective originals and reruns” now that Peter Kern is interim CEO of Tribune—replacing Peter Liguori, who left the company in March—Ripley says. (Deadline)

Looking for reasons why I don’t like Sinclair Broadcasting? I’ll allow the Washington Post to provide one.

In 2014, Sinclair completed its $985 million purchase of eight stations owned by Allbritton Communications, including WJLA-TV, which is now the largest Sinclair owns.

Sinclair has effectively remade WJLA in its own image, which is to say it continues to cover local and national news but with a distinctively conservative flavor.

Sinclair has been criticized for using its many stations to push Republican presidential candidates since at least 2004 when it announced it would air a documentary critical of Democratic candidate John F. Kerry but backed down amid pressure. …

The company has also added regular public-affairs programs produced from Washington and hosted by conservatives Sharyl Attkisson and Armstrong Williams, who served as Ben Carson’s business manager during Carson’s presidential campaign. Williams and Sinclair are business partners; in 2013, he acquired TV stations from Sinclair when the company reached federal limits on station ownership.

As I stated, a sad day for America.

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