Sinclair Lays Out Plans To Divest Stations To Win FCC Approval Of Tribune Acquisition

Sinclair Broadcast Group; Tribune Media

Sinclair Broadcasting Group laid out its plans to divest television stations in New York, Chicago, San Diego and other markets in an effort to win FCC approval for its planned $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media.

In a filing today with the FCC, Sinclair said it would sell WGN-TV in Chicago, WPIX-TV in New York and KSWB in San Diego to comply with national television ownership rules, which prohibit a single entity from reaching more than 39% of all TV households in the U.S. Sinclair notes it plans to sell the Chicago and New York stations to third parties, but enter into agreements to operate the stations. The San Diego station will be sold.

Sinclair identifies eight markets where it must divest one or more stations to comply with rules that prohibit duopolies in TV station ownership that would leave fewer than eight independently owned stations: Seattle-Tacoma, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City, Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, Grand Rapids, Richmond and Des Moines-Amex. It also seeks FCC approval to own two top-four-rated stations in Indianapolis, greater Harrisburg, Pa., and greater Greensboro, NC.

Any deal also would require Justice Department approval.

In Washington state, Sinclair already owns ABC affiliate KOMO in Seattle, and the Univision station KUNS-TV in Bellevue. A Tribune subsidiary licenses Fox affiliate KCPQ in Tacoma and MyNetwork affiliate KZJO in Seattle. Sinclair plans to divest KCPQ, the fourth-ranked station in the market, and KZJO, the eighth-ranked station.

In Missouri, Sinclair licenses ABC affiliate KDNL in St. Louis, and Tribune licenses Fox affiliate KTVI in St. Louis and CW affiliate KPLR. With the acquisition, Sinclair would divest KPLR, the market’s fourth highest-rated station.

In Utah, Sinclair licenses CBS affiliate KUTV and independent station KJZZ, while a subsidiary of Tribune licenses Fox affiliate KSTU. Sinclair would divest KSTU, the market’s third-ranked station.

In Oklahoma, Sinclair licenses Fox affiliate KOKH and CW affiliate KOCB in Oklahoma City, A Tribune subsidiary licenses NBC affiliate KFOR and independent station KAUT in Oklahoma City. Sinclair said it plans to divest one of its top-four stations and another station in this market to a third party or parties.

In North Carolina, Sinclair licenses ABC affiliate WXLV in Winston Salem, a MyNetwork affiliate WMYV in Greensboro, Tribune licenses Fox affiliate WGHP in High Point.¬†Sinclair intends to acquire the market’s third ranked station, WGHP, and to divest WMYV.

In Michigan, Sinclair licenses CBS affiliate WWMT in Kalamazoo, and Tribune licenses Fox affiliate WXMI. Sinclair plans to divest one of these top-four stations in the market.

In Virginia, Sinclair licenses Fox affiliate WRLH, and Tribune licenses CBGS affiliate WTVR. Sinclair said it would divest one of these Richmond stations.

In Iowa, Sinclair licenses Fox affiliate KDSM and a Tribune subsidiary licenses WHO-DT. Sinclair plans to divest one of these top Des Moines stations.

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