Friday, April 12, 2013

Sinclair: We’re Keeping Fisher Radio Stations

When KOMO-TV owner Fisher Communications becomes part of the much larger Sinclair Broadcast Group of Baltimore this fall, Seattle will lose its last locally owned network television station.

The Seattle Times reports the city also will lose a corporate name that played a prominent part in the region’s economy for just over a century.

Sinclair, the country’s largest Fox affiliate, has agreed to pay $373 million for KOMO and Fisher’s 19 other West Coast TV stations, plus three Seattle radio stations.

The industry is consolidating in the face of competition from cable television and streaming online videos, as well as media giants such as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and Comcast’s NBC Universal business.

After this deal and two other pending acquisitions close, Sinclair will own or provide services to 134 television stations in 69 markets.

Sinclair said it plans to keep Fisher’s three Seattle radio stations — KOMO Newsradio, KPLZ STAR 101.5 FM and KVI 570 — even though its focus is TV.  But Sinclair CFO David Amy seemed to be hedging on that, telling Wall Street analysts during a conference call Thursday, “Our understanding is the radio stations are complementary ... It will take time to verify.”

The company does not anticipate having to divest any TV stations to comply with Federal Communications Commission limits on radio and TV station ownership.

It is selling some stations to complete the $370 million acquisition of Barrington Broadcasting, which owns or manages 24 TV stations from Syracuse, N.Y., to Amarillo, Texas. That deal was announced in February, as was Sinclair’s agreement to pay $95 million for four TV stations owned by COX Media Group.

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