JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | Sook & Nexstar Sound The Right Note For Tribune

Despite all the shots I have taken at Sinclair’s David Smith for his top-down meddling in news and for souring the regulatory climate in Washington, I like the idea of his owning Tribune. However, I think I like the idea of Nexstar’s Perry Sook owning Tribune even more. He can better make the case in Washington that mega-station groups are good for the country; he will be a better steward of Tribune’s news operations and will be just as committed as Smith in advancing ATSC 3.0 datacasting.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell: Winners And Losers Abound in Sinclair’s Fiasco

The imminent collapse of Sinclair’s merger makes the combative station group one of the all-time losers in FCC regulatory history, but they’re not the only ones who’ve lost. Here are some of the other losers caught up in this week’s train wreck along with some of the winners. At the top of the latter group is FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who has clearly signaled that he is no pushover.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Viral Video Makes Sinclair Look A Bit Sick

Deadspin’s spot-on video exposed Sinclair’s top-down right-wing news agenda for all to see. But Sinclair’s problem is not that it has a point a view, but that it is pressing its news pros to join in promulgating it. You don’t create a great news organization by pitting your anchors, reporters and producers against their own ethics. Or, by opening them up to ridicule. This fiasco did both.

Sinclair’s David Smith Responds To Criticism

David Smith, the executive chairman of Sinclair Broadcast Group, says the media is getting his company all wrong. His remarks came in response to renewed scrutiny of Sinclair after a video spread rapidly showing anchors at dozens of its stations across the country reciting the same speech about media bias.

David Smith: Print Media Has ‘No Credibility’

David Smith, the executive chairman of Sinclair Broadcast Group, said he dislikes and fundamentally distrusts the print media, which he believes “serves no real purpose.” He said that print — as in newspapers and magazines — is a reality-distorting tool of leftists. Print media, he said, has “no credibility” and no relevance. (TVNewsCheck photo)

JESSELL AT LARGE

Sinclair Creating Bad Optics For Pai

Sinclair’s behavior in trying to merge with Tribune is doing it — and the entire broadcasting industry — no favors. By dragging out this process, and by pressing for every advantage, Sinclair is making life difficult for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who has been broadcasters’ best friend in that job in decades.

DMA 3

Sinclair Plans To Sell WGN To Smith Partner

FaderSinclair Broadcast Group wants to sell WGN-TV Chicago to a Maryland auto dealer but would remain in control of the station in what critics say is a bid to skirt ownership limits and win federal regulatory approval for its proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media. Steven Fader, CEO of Atlantic Automotive,is a longtime business partner of Sinclair Executive Chairman David Smith.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Ergen And Smith: Thing 1 And Thing 2

What do the two TV entrepreneurs have in common? They are both betting that the future lies in spectrum and the Internet of Things. They just envision different ways of realizing the vast potential. The real question is can they get a return on the hefty investments they will have to make so that they can compete is the space.

Sinclair Said Pondering Bannon Collaboration

David Smith, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s executive chairman and largest shareholder, is close to Steve Bannon and an admirer, according to people who know them both. He is keen to increase Sinclair’s heft in conservative commentary, a market currently dominated by Fox News Channel, and is eyeing a collaboration with Bannon, according to the Financial Times.

JESSELL AT LARGE, BONUS TRACK

David Smith: 3.0 The Only Avenue To Growth

The head of Sinclair Broadcast Group makes a powerful argument for ATSC 3.0. He believes it will spawn many enhancements and businesses that will more than justify the “immaterial” cost of implementation, especially the ability to deliver targeted advertising. There’s room for skepticism, but not enough to stop broadcasters from moving briskly ahead with the technology.

TV2020

3 Of 4 Broadcast CEOs Agree: 3.0 Is A Winner

At last week’s TV2020 conference, TVNewsCheck Editor Harry Jessell sat down with station group heads Jack Abernethy of Fox, Pat LaPlatney of Raycom, David Smith of Sinclair  and Perry Sook of Nexstar for a nuts-and-bolts discussion of the money-making potential of ATSC 3.0. Abernethy liked the technology, but was skeptical about the business models. However, the other three said adopting the new technology is a no-brainer. Said Sook: “It’s the next technological evolution of our business. I think it’s just a matter now of how fast we can roll things out.” Watch the session above.

TVN'S TV2020

Abernethy: Fox Not Yet Ready To Embrace 3.0

AbernethyBut three other major stations group heads led by David Smith of Sinclair expressed unqualified enthusiasm for implementing the new broadcast standard, saying it will transform broadcasting into a fast-growing business again. “It’s essential for this industry to survive to have ATSC 3.0 in the marketplace as fast as possible,” said Smith.

 

New Jobs For Sinclair’s Smith, Ripley

On Jan. 1, David Smith moves from chairman, president and chief executive officer to executive chairman, with a focus on ATSC 3.0 development and expanding Sinclair’s news franchise. He will be succeeded as president-CEO by Christopher Ripley, the current CFO., while Lucy Rutishauser moves up to CFO. 

Sinclair Executive Changes: Smith To Executive Chairman, Ripley To President-CEO

Sinclair Broadcast Group today announced executive promotions and changes that will become effective Jan. 1, 2017: • David Smith from chairman, president and chief executive officer to executive chairman. Smith will have direct oversight of the development, implementation and globalization of the next generation broadcast platform (ATSC 3.0) and expansion of the company’s news franchise. […]

Smith, Sook, LaPlatney On Tap For 3.0 Confab

One highlight of TVNewsCheck’s Nov. 9-10 TV2020 conference on the prospects for Next Gen TV will be the CEO panel featuring David Smith of Sinclair Broadcast Group, Perry Sook of Nexstar Broadcasting Group and Pat LaPlatney of Raycom Media.

 

Sinclair Envisions ATSC 3.0 Royalty Windfall

If the proposed next-gen TV transmission standard is adopted, Sinclair Broadcast Group stands to profit from its contribution of intellectual property, the company’s execs say. “You should assume that anybody who is going to watch television, whether it is on virtual reality devices, cars, machines, phones, pads, TV sets is going to [be using] our technology,” said CEO David Smith.

JESSELL AT LARGE

At 39%, Sook, Smith Set Different Courses

Now that Nexstar has signed a definitive agreement to absorb Media General for $4.6 billion, Nexstar joins Sinclair in having hit the FCC ceiling on station ownership. The groups CEOs — Perry Sook and David Smith, respectively — have a lot in common, but their post-consolidation strategies are diverging. Smith wants Sinclair to be a national programmer; Sook simply wants to get the most out of what he’s got.

UPDATED 11:59 A.M. ET

Sinclair Buying Tennis Channel For $350M

The purchase price is partially offset by the network’s $200 million in net operating losses, which Sinclair will be able to carry forward to its taxes and save it around $65 million. Sinclair has lined up deals with MVPDs to increase the channel’s coverage from 30 million to 50 million homes. The channel’s CEO, Ken Solomon, is staying on.

Sinclair CEO Loses Lawsuit Over Farm Land

JESSELL AT LARGE

TV Can’t Thrive As Phony ‘Three-Legged Dog’

Jeff Jarvis and David Smith, the two keynoters at TVNewsCheck‘s NewsTECHForum in New York this week, offered the prescription for a broadcasting renaissance: revamped news content with “true, human” voices and a new broadcast standard that can keep pace in a “fast-track world.”

NEWSTECHFORUM (UPDATED 4:52 PM ET)

Sinclair’s Smith Beats The Drum For ATSC 3.0

Sinclair CEO David Smith says that without a new technical standard that lets broadcasters beam their signals to all devices, they will lose to cable and telcos and become “essentially a three-legged dog in a four-legged dog, fast-track world.”

David Smith Q&A To Launch NewsTECHForum

The second annual conference from TVNewsCheck and Sports Video Group will begin Dec. 15 with a session featuring the CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group. Other sessions will address multiscreen news workflow, IT security for TV news, severe weather reporting, mobile newsgathering, next-gen ENG cameras, video-enabled drones and more.

Sinclair CEO In Legal Dispute With Farmer

EARNINGS CALL

David Smith: Congress Must Save TV’s Future

The Sinclair CEO says the uncertainty surrounding the regulatory environment is making it tough on broadcasters. Congress and the courts need to supply some answers to disputes over shared service agreements and the FCC’s ownership cap. Also on the top of his to-do list is creating a next-generation broadcast TV standard that will let stations “be everywhere 24 hours a day, 365 on every device.”

JESSELL AT LARGE

Why Is David Smith Not On The TV Board?

I suspect the answer is the Television Operators Caucus. Whatever the reason, not to have Smith on the NAB board is absurd. Sinclair is the sixth largest TV station group ranked by revenue with more stations in more markets than any other. Aside from Sinclair’s sheer size, Smith deserves a place within NAB because of his ideas. He is a real industry leader.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Why Is David Smith Not On The TV Board?

I suspect the answer is the Television Operators Caucus. Whatever the reason, not to have Smith on the NAB board is absurd. Sinclair is the sixth largest TV station group ranked by revenue with more stations in more markets than any other. Aside from Sinclair’s sheer size, Smith deserves a place within NAB because of his ideas. He is a real industry leader.

TVN STATION GROUP OF THE YEAR

David Smith: Sinclair’s Singular Visionary

He’s also been called brash, arrogant, Machiavellian, a maverick. He avoided joining the industry’s preeminent trade group, the National Association of Broadcasters, for decades but finally signed up a couple years back. He’s come under fire from media watchers for pushing consolidation and sometimes requiring Sinclair stations to run programming reflecting his conservative views. But one thing he’s never been accused of is being stupid.

EARNINGS CALL

Smith Clarifies NewsChannel 8 Ambitions

“If and when we close on the Allbritton transaction,” Sinclair CEO David Smith said today, “we’re being handed an asset that’s completely undeveloped. It’s no more complicated than taking a television show and distributing it across the country. We view as an opportunity to take our local news platforms … and expand them in lots of other venues.”

JESSELL AT LARGE

Smith’s Puzzling Cable Net Plan Worth A Look

I’m conflicted over Sinclair CEO David Smith’s proposal to turn local D.C.’s NewsChannel 8 acquired in the Allbritton deal into a national cable news channel fueled by local stations. The cynical half of me says that Smith cooked up the idea of a national network to distract investors from the fact that he paid an unusually high, above-average multiple. The other half says let’s wait and see. Smith sees value where others don’t, and there may be more behind his strategy that he was letting on this week.

COMMENTARY

What If Sinclair And Nexstar Decide To Merge?

With new mega-media deals being announced every few weeks, TVNewsCheck‘s Price Colman speculates on how a combination of those two big players might come about and what it could look like.

JESSELL AT LARGE

TV Should Heed Smith’s Next-Gen Urgency

Sinclair Broadcast Group CEO David Smith is demonstrating industry leadership in his drive to get the industry to adapt ATSC 3.0, the next-gen TV standard. His fervent and repeated claims that only the swift adoption of a new standard will save the industry from a slow, but inevitable obsolescence, may not always be welcome, but there’s no denying it’s a message that needs to be heard and acted on.

EXECUTIVE SESSION WITH DAVID SMITH

Smith: Adopt Next TV Standard – Now

Sinclair Broadcast Group CEO David Smith has a vision. It’s that broadcasting can go toe-to-toe with cable, satellite, wireless broadband and any other medium in providing multichannel TV that lets advertisers target ads to the individual consumers most likely to buy. That’s why he’s adamant that broadcasters need to adopt ATSC 3.0 as the next-generation TV standard as quickly as possible. Without it,  he says, “we can’t compete.”

Dielectric: Smith’s $5M Insurance Policy

The CEO of Sinclair says that he felt he had to rescue Dielectric from going out of business to guarantee support and parts for all the Dielectric transmission gear he has in the field. “This was an insurance policy for us. I now know if I get hit under any circumstance, I own all the intellectual property involved in creating any replacement parts for anything I need.”

Aereo? No Worries, Says Sinclair’s Smith

Noting that “there’s nothing proprietary about [Aereo’s] technology,” Sinclair Broadcasting CEO David Smith says that if it appeared to become a viable business, broadcasters could step up and do it on their own.

Sinclair Targets Titan Television For Next Buy

In what would be the latest in a series of transactions, Sinclair Broadcast Group will add several more stations to its rapidly expanding station portfolio, according to industry sources. No word on yet on price.

LIVE FROM NAB

NAB’s Smith: Ubiquity Is Key To Success

The association’s CEO says broadcasting must be available to all people at all times in all places and on all devices. For all that’s going on at NAB 2012, click here.

TVNEWSCHECK FOCUS ON BUSINESS

David Smith, Sinclair: Turnaround Champs

A mere two-and-a-half years after facing the possibility of massive loan defaults, Smith has guided his group of 68 stations into financial security and positioned it to capitalize on the improving economy. Sinclair has whittled down debt and corresponding leverage ratios significantly, all while steadily upgrading station technology and striking deals that expand its scope and scale. It’s bought 15 stations since last September and is ready to buy more if the deals are right.

EARNINGS CALL

Sinclair’s Smith Not Worried About Auctions

CEO David Smith says: “There’s a fundamental disagreement between the Democrats and Republicans” over spectrum auction legislation and he sees no action likely in three-to-five years. He and other execs at the company say this year is shaping up to be a record on-year for political revenues at Sinclair and they have great expectations for the role super PACs will play.

Mission Broadcasting CEO David Smith Dies

David Smith, president and CEO of Mission Broadcasting, died of a massive heart attack over the weekend. Mission owns 16 stations — based mostly in smaller markets in Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Texas — but they are operated by Nexstar Broadcasting as part of duopolies.