Sinclair Broadcast Group announced on Wednesday that it will purchase eight stations from New Age Media, for $90 million. Five of those stations include WTLH Fox 49 & WTLF CW 24 in Tallahassee and the Gainesville Television News (GTN) group of stations WNBW NBC 9, WGFL CBS 4, & WMYG-LP MyTV 11. The other three stations are WOLF-TV, WOMY-TV, & WSWB-TV in the Wilkes-Barre-Scranton, PA market.
As far as the Florida stations are concerned, to comply with FCC TV ownership rules (HA!), Sinclair will sell the license and assets of WTLH-TV, and WNBW-TV to Cunningham Broadcasting Corp and WTLF-TV to Deerfield Media. All Cunningham and Deerfield stations operate under local media agreements and other arrangements under the umbrella of Sinclair Broadcast Group.
While Sinclair, Cunningham, and Deerfield are all technically separate companies, Cunningham and Deerfield are connected to Sinclair and former Sinclair executives. One might conclude that this might allow the broadcasting giant to skirt the loosely enforced and virtually ignored broadcast ownership laws set forth the the FCC…or so we hear.
While these properties will eventually be divided up between the three new owners mentioned above, the acquisition/sale of these stations markets will now be the 4th and 5th Florida markets where Sinclair owns at least one station, as well as the 3rd and 4th Florida markets where Sinclair Broadcast Group owns or has influence over more than two local stations (a traditional duopoly set-up) in one market and the markets where Sinclair owns at least one station.
- Four stations in West Palm Beach – (O&O: WPEC-TV, WTVX-TV, WTCN-TV, WWHB-CA)
- Four stations in Pensacola/Mobile – (O&O: WEAR-TV, WFGX-TV – LMA (Deerfield):WPMI-TV, WJTC-TV)
- Three stations in Gainesville – (O&O: WGFL-TV, WMYG-LP, LMA (Cunninghma): WNBW-TV)
- Three stations in Tallahassee – (O&O: WTWC-TV, LMA (Cunningham): WTLH-TV, LMA (Deerfield): WTLF-TV)
- One station in Tampa – (O&O: WTTA-TV)
So we here at Florida News Center must ask several questions…
- What happens to Gainesville Television News? GTN was created in Oct of 2010 and simulcasts a single newscast between its three stations (WGFL, WNBW, WMYG)
- Will the acquisition of WTLH and WTFL create an avenue for a shared newscast on WTLH/WTFL and WTWC?
- What will happen to the employees at Sinclair’s (Deerfield/Cunningham) new and previously owned stations?
Stay tuned to Florida News Center for the latest…