Monday, May 08, 2017

Sinclair Close to Buying Tribune Media

According to Variety, the sale is almost complete. It will be the first major sale since the new FCC changed the rules to make it easier for companies to buy more media outlets. The last time the government allowed this (under President Clinton), it changed the media a terrible, terrible way. It destroyed local radio, which may never come back. This time local television may be destroyed.

If a deal goes through, it would be the first major broadcast acquisition in the weeks since the FCC reversed a 2016 media ownership ruling, a decision that greatly expanded the number of TV stations a single entity can own. The acquisition of Tribune would make Baltimore-based Sinclair the largest TV station owner in the country, by reach and by total number of TV stations. It would expand the company’s presence for the first time into the top five TV markets of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Dallas. Sinclair at present owns or operates 173 TV stations, with Washington, D.C. (No. 7 overall behind San Francisco) as its largest market.

Bigger than NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox. What could this sale do to Chicago media? It could take away our one local independent station, Chicago-institution WGN, and turn it into a news outlet to the right of Fox News. That is what Sinclair has done in previous markets. Their goal is to go after Fox News...from the right.