by The American Street So Sinclair’s decision has nothing to do with anything about Kerry’s service. The fact is that Sinclair is a sinking
October 13, 2004

by The American Street

So Sinclair’s decision has nothing to do with anything about Kerry’s service. The fact is that Sinclair is a sinking corporation. It can only survive by gobbling up more TV stations - getting a corner on the market. In the old days, this would be akin to a ‘trust’, which Teddy Roosevelt would have busted.

Simply put, if Bush wins, Sinclair knows the FCC rules would permit more media consolidation. If Kerry wins, they know the FCC will clamp down to prevent this.

So they call this propaganda ‘news’ when they’re trying to swing the election to save their own asses.

The question is: how many corporate advertisers are willing to take a hit to save Sinclair, and how many will understand that the hit of all Democrats boycotting their products could be huge?


But many believe Sinclair's provocative decision shows how much the company has riding on the election.

With its heavy concentration of Fox and WB affiliates, ranking in the middle of the pack in mostly midsize markets, Sinclair is barely profitable and laden with debt. It had a net profit of $14 million on revenue of $739 million in 2003.

Sinclair hopes to change that by solidifying its hold on local markets by controlling, for example, two stations in more cities and sharing operating and news-gathering costs. But it needs the federal government to relax several media ownership restrictions.

Sinclair wants officials to permit a company to own two or more stations in more communities than allowed now. It also wants the FCC to ease a restriction that bars a company from owning TV stations reaching more than 35% of all homes, and to lift the rule that keeps companies from owning newspapers and TV stations in most markets.

That's where the parties part ways. FCC Chairman Michael Powell, a Republican, has made media deregulation a priority, although many of the FCC's rule changes are tangled in court.

Kerry says he'll clamp down on changes that promote consolidation.

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