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Sinclair, NPG consolidating some virtual duopolies onto one transmitter


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15 minutes ago, Samantha said:

 

So far, it looks like this has to do with some renewed affiliation agreements between Sinclair and Fox and apparently NPG and CBS. (VistaWest's CBS affiliation agreement expired December 31.)

Sinclair recently renewed their affiliation agreement with FOX, with that in mind, I've complied a list of markets where FOX is currently on a Sinclair shell station:

 

DMA 33, Columbus, OH, WTTE (Cunningham) -> WSYX (Sinclair)

DMA 78, Portland, ME, WPFO (Cunningham) -> WGME (Sinclair)

DMA 89, Charleston, SC, WTAT (Cunningham) -> WCIV (Sinclair)

DMA 90, Springfield, IL, WRSP/WCCU (GOCOM) -> WICS/WICD (Sinclair)

DMA 100, Bristol, TN, WEMT (Cunningham) -> WCYB (Sinclair)

DMA 102, Greenville, NC, WYDO (Cunningham) -> WCTI (Sinclair)

DMA 107, Johnstown, PA, WWCP (Peak) -> WJAC (Sinclair)

DMA 123, Peoria, IL, WYZZ (Cunningham) -> WHOI (Sinclair)

DMA 132, Chico, CA, KCVU (Cunningham) -> KRCR (Sinclair). who's currently carrying Fox in its stick

DMA 193, Eureka, CA, KBVU (Cunningham) -> KAEF (Sinclair)

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Current full list:   Sinclair Beaumont–Port Arthur TX: KBTV 4.1 (Fox) to KFDM 6.3 (Dabl to 4.1) Cedar Rapids: KFXA 28.1 (Fox) to KGAN 2.2 Charleston WV: WVAH 11.1 (Fox)

This is basically the M.O. for Sinclair/Gray/etc to skirt duopoly rules. Strip the intellectual property from one station, put it on a .2 on the senior partner and/or an LP, and now you have a duopoly

Gray's been doing it for years. KHAS, WAGT...just to name two!

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I have a feeling that the soon to be former Fox stations that are operated by Sinclair will not be the only ones that has programming moved to the senior partner of a duopoly (whether it be a legal duopoly or not).

 

I suspect this will impact many of the markets that have upgrated to 3.0 as well.

 

Whether or not it's leading to something large taking place is a question for Speculatron 9000.

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Wouldn't surprise me at all if something happens in Columbus, Ohio.  Sinclair owns WSYX, Cunningham owns WTTE, and Manhan (Stephen Mumblow, owner of Deerfield) owns WWHO.

 

Columbus is a very under-stationed market for it's size and even the WTTE deal at the time was scrutinized (when Sinclair bought River City, they acquired WSYX and spun off WTTE to Glencairn.)

 

On a side note, I wonder when WHIZ over in Zanesville will cash out.  They already "moved" their FM counterpart to the Columbus market and leased it to a displaced Alt-rock station.

18 hours ago, dman748 said:

I have a feeling that the soon to be former Fox stations that are operated by Sinclair will not be the only ones that has programming moved to the senior partner of a duopoly (whether it be a legal duopoly or not).

 

I suspect this will impact many of the markets that have upgrated to 3.0 as well.

 

Whether or not it's leading to something large taking place is a question for Speculatron 9000.

 

The difference here is that these stations are ones that are literally moving to the other license, as evidenced by their new PSIP.  In the 3.0 displacements, the 1.0 stations are  still under their original licenses and PSIP assignments, even if the "host" 3.0 station has displaced them.  And the 3.0 "host" stations host 3.0 simulcasts of the other participating group stations in the market, even under multiple owners.

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12 minutes ago, tyrannical bastard said:

Wouldn't surprise me at all if something happens in Columbus, Ohio.  Sinclair owns WSYX, Cunningham owns WTTE, and Manhan (Stephen Mumblow, owner of Deerfield) owns WWHO.

 

Columbus is a very under-stationed market for it's size and even the WTTE deal at the time was scrutinized (when Sinclair bought River City, they acquired WSYX and spun off WTTE to Glencairn.)

 

On a side note, I wonder when WHIZ over in Zanesville will cash out.  They already "moved" their FM counterpart to the Columbus market and leased it to a displaced Alt-rock station.

Given that's happened to Dayton I wouldn't be surprised to see it happen to some of the other Sinclair markets in Ohio (including Columbus.

 

In fact I wouldn't rule out the possibility of WHIZ being sold to somebody who will finally move the station to Columbus proper, eliminate the Zanesville market in the process (which that needs to happen anyway), and then enable Fox to move to WHIZ (send the CW to WTTE and then just simply sell the spectrum of WWHO to somebody like an Armstrong Williams or someone like that)

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WHIZ will likely remain as it is since they are the Zanesville market, which commands it to have its own affiliated TV station (NBC) and all of the syndication exclusivity it commands.

 

WTTE struck a deal with YouTube TV to become the default FOX affiliate, the other Columbus stations fill in the gaps on cable.  I'm not sure if WCMH is carried despite the presence of WHIZ.

 

Had LIN hung on to WWHO, it could have restored it's partnership with WCMH (established during the Outlet era) and become a Vaughan shell in the Media General merger.  But Manhan struck at the right time and the virtual triopoly we have today was born.  

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This is basically the M.O. for Sinclair/Gray/etc to skirt duopoly rules. Strip the intellectual property from one station, put it on a .2 on the senior partner and/or an LP, and now you have a duopoly without actually having a duopoly in the eyes of the FCC. It's bad news, because it's already happening with Big 3 stations with separate news departments (KTUU/KTVA). I do wonder if a Biden DOJ will figure out a way to crack down on the license kabuki, because it doesn't appear the FCC can.

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5 hours ago, tyrannical bastard said:

WHIZ will likely remain as it is since they are the Zanesville market, which commands it to have its own affiliated TV station (NBC) and all of the syndication exclusivity it commands.

 

WTTE struck a deal with YouTube TV to become the default FOX affiliate, the other Columbus stations fill in the gaps on cable.  I'm not sure if WCMH is carried despite the presence of WHIZ.

 

Had LIN hung on to WWHO, it could have restored it's partnership with WCMH (established during the Outlet era) and become a Vaughan shell in the Media General merger.  But Manhan struck at the right time and the virtual triopoly we have today was born.  

I’m surprised WHIZ TV does not have a FOX/CBS/ABC sub channel.. Zanesville being a small market.

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5 hours ago, channel2 said:

Gray's been doing it for years. KHAS, WAGT...just to name two!

 

Many of these were after the Hoak merger, and after the rules were tightened so that the affected stations had to be sold to an unrelated party.  

 

Out of necessity, Sinclair needed to dump WCFT/WJSU and WCIV, as well as completely pull away from WTAT.  Although ABC ended up on the successor of WJSU as a subchannel and WTAT entered into a news share with the newly christened "WCIV".

 

I wonder, was there some kind of deadline or legal precedent that is causing all of these changes?

 

EDIT:  After reading the updates to this thread since it was split, the new affiliation agreements make sense.  This way, the parent company can take control and leave out the shell and any other future FCC headaches.

Edited by tyrannical bastard
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4 hours ago, CircleSeven said:

 

.......and recently KTTW.

KTTW TV’s previous owners are selling to a non profit organization. The Fox affiliate would have gone to KDLT TV or KELO TV. Either Nextstar or Gray TV would have been given the FOX affiliation. 

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Looking at the 2019 Sinclair Annual Report....here's a breakdown of their affiliation deals.

 

41 ABC affiliates locked in through August 31, 2022

30 CBS affiliates with agreements from April 30, 2020 through December 31, 2021

48 CW affiliates locked in from August 31, 2021 through August 31, 2024

59 FOX affiliates with agreements from December 31, 2020 through December 31, 2021

39 MNT affiliates whose contract expired on August 31, 2020

24 NBC affiliates locked in through December 31, 2021

 

Based on this, we could be seeing a new wave of channel sharing for next year in other markets.

 

Another potential reason for this sharing could be the upcoming expiration of the joint sales and shared service agreements entered into.   We're getting close to a decade with many of the Deerfield deals.

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15 hours ago, CubsFan79 said:

I’m surprised WHIZ TV does not have a FOX/CBS/ABC sub channel.. Zanesville being a small market.

 

Given that we're talking about a family-owned station in a sub 200 market, with no other television assets, they probably can't make enough revenue to pay for the rights to broadcast more than one network.  If they want to keep a media voice in Zanesville, their best bet is to sell the station to Gray and have them run it as a semi-satellite of WTAP.

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13 hours ago, effseesee said:

 

Given that we're talking about a family-owned station in a sub 200 market, with no other television assets, they probably can't make enough revenue to pay for the rights to broadcast more than one network.  If they want to keep a media voice in Zanesville, their best bet is to sell the station to Gray and have them run it as a semi-satellite of WTAP.

Zanesville is too far away from Parkersburg.  They're better off being absorbed into the Columbus market.  It's only 1 county (Muskingum) that's totally surrounded by the Columbus DMA on all sides.

Nexstar buying them would give WCMH a repeater in the eastern fringes and a bureau. 

 

 

An interesting quirk of the spectrum auction was the sale of WSFJ's spectrum.  They currently channel share with WCLL-CD, meaning they only have a fraction of the power they used to, but still have a full-powered license (and most importantly, must-carry powers).  I"m not sure if this will be one of Scripps pickups or not.

 

It was one of the many stations TBN cashed out (and lives on as an ION plus affiliate).  Even weirder is that ION itself is on WCMH's sub-tier.

 

But back to the Sinclair situation.  Despite WTTE's strength as a FOX affiliate, it could be in next year's move if Sinclair is really attempting to shed it's shells by moving WTTE and/or WWHO to WSYX's signal.

I'm sure whenever 3.0 comes to town, it will really get dicey, since all of the commercial owners are in on it, and they may need another station (cough cough WHIZ) to put stuff on.

Edited by tyrannical bastard
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It begs the question down the line,  if companies like Sinclair will be consolidating their excess licenses once 3.0 becomes the norm and the 1.0 broadcasts start to go away. 

Some of the sharing involves almost paints that picture.

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These changes may be rooted to a recently passed law by Congress that effectively requires shell companies to disclose their true ownership...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/12/11/anonymous-shell-company-us-ban/

Deerfield/Manhan is probably ok since Stephen Mumblow has no family connections to Sinclair, but the "trust" that owns Cunningham established after the passing of David Smith's mother may be questionable....

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1 hour ago, tyrannical bastard said:

These changes may be rooted to a recently passed law by Congress that effectively requires shell companies to disclose their true ownership...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/12/11/anonymous-shell-company-us-ban/

Deerfield/Manhan is probably ok since Stephen Mumblow has no family connections to Sinclair, but the "trust" that owns Cunningham established after the passing of David Smith's mother may be questionable....

It might not be that far-fetched to see Cunningham reorganized into an Inyo-like group without the Smith family's involvement whatsoever.

 

Inyo is operating the Ion stations Scripps cannot legally own as turnkey Ion affiliates, carrying the diginets on Scripps's behalf with next to no overhead and getting a nice revenue stream to boot. Why can't Sinclair do the same here? Cunningham clears all of Sinclair's diginets and gets a revenue stream, and Sinclair doesn't have to worry about any legal headaches, just to host their master controls (no main studios needed, either!).

Edited by Myron Falwell
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On 1/14/2021 at 1:08 PM, CubsFan79 said:

What becomes of FOX stations owned  or operated by Sinclair moving to sub channels in TV markets like Cedar Rapids IA and Charleston WV

 

They appear to be running TBD.

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I wonder how they're going to handle Rochester in this situation. Would WUHF and WHAM be safe as-is since Sinclair owns the Fox affiliate while the sidecar has the news department and the higher PSIP? Or would they work some Vegas-level magic, move the WHAM calls and 13.x PSIP to the WUHF spectrum, and put Fox on 13.2 or 13.3?

 

This would have other consequences as well: WUHF is still uplinked to Canadian satellite and while it's utility has been lessened with WFXT/WUTV/WJBK/KMSP available, Sinclair still makes decent money from their Canadian audience. Is that enough them for them to walk away since the CRTC wouldn't greenlight a .2?

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It does get interesting in Rochester since WUHF is the senior partner of WHAM (owned by Deerfield) and that WHAM is on VHF.  When 3.0 comes to town, WROC will likely be in on it as well.

But if they play the channel shuffle there, more than likely WHAM will have to become a subchannel on WUHF complete with their PSIP, unless they can swap ownership.

 

Further complicating matters is their proximity to Canada, and any facility changes would likely have to approved by Canada. 

How does their TV spectrum compare to ours now that we have stopped using anything above 36?

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