How Sinclair Broadcast Group Could Become The iHeart Radio Of Local Television News

The company’s $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media will likely add to Sinclair’s standing as a local news powerhouse.

By Michael Marks & Rhonda FanningMay 9, 2017 1:25 pm

Sinclair Broadcast Group, a telecommunications company that owns over 160 local television stations, announced Monday that it would purchase another major broadcast company, Tribune Media, for $3.9 billion. The deal was so big that before it could go through, the Federal Communications Commission had to change a rule on how many stations a single company could own.

Lecturer of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin, Professor Bob Garcia-Buckalew, says that the large price tag for this acquisition is not necessarily surprising because local television news has weathered changes in the journalism business better than other traditional forms of media.

“Despite the onslaught of alternative ways to view entertainment that we have today,” Garcia-Buckalew says. “local television still does a good job of providing entertainment and information and it continues to be a fairly profitable business to be in.”

Gracia-Buckalew says that this consolidation trend in television news follows a similar path to the consolidation trend that affected radio stations in the past.

“The Tribune’s been a good broadcast company over the decades and expanding their assets as part of a move to become, in many ways, in a positive sense, the iHeart radio of television.” Garcia-Buckalew says. “iHeart has hundreds of radio stations across the country and consolidation hit radio several decades ago and now we’re in the era of television consolidation.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How Sinclair Media’s reputation for a conservative bent may or may not affect local news

– What gives local news stations staying power

Written by Emma Whalen.