Sinclair Creates A Divestiture Trust, Led By RAFAMEDIA

By Adam Jacobson - February 21, 2018

The controversial combination of Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media has just gotten one step closer to fruition.

A series of Form 314 filings have been made Wednesday (2/21) with the FCC indicating the divestiture of up to 23 broadcast television properties by Sinclair.

The stations have been designated for placement in what will be called the Sinclair Divestiture Trust, and the trustee is RAFAMEDIA LLC, led by veteran media broker Richard A. Foreman.

In an exclusive conversation with RBR+TVBR, Foreman confirmed that a number of stations have been selected for placement in the trust “for the purpose of removing them from the licensee.”

Steve Marks, the Tampa-based COO of Sinclair Broadcast Group, declined to comment and referred all questions to General Counsel Barry Faber. Two attempted calls to Faber’s office were disconnected.

The arrangement calls for RAFAMEDIA LLC to manage up to, but not inclusive of, the following stations. They include stations Sinclair intends to acquire from Tribune and are listed as follows:

  • Tribune’s KCPQ-TV and KZJO-TV in Seattle-Tacoma
  • Tribune’s KPLR-11 in St. Louis
  • Tribune’s FOX-affiliated KSTU-13 in Salt Lake City
  • In Oklahoma City, Sinclair is the licensee of KOKH-TV and KOCB-TV, while Tribune is the licensee of KAUT-TV and KFOR-TV. All four stations are going into the trust
  • Sinclair’s WXLV-TV and WMYV-TV and Tribune’s WGHP-TV in Greensboro
  • Sinclair’s WWMT-TV in Kalamazoo and Tribune’s WXMI-TV in Grand Rapids
  • Sinclair’s WHP-TV in Harrisburg and Tribune’s WPMT-TV in York, Pa.; both stations are in the Harrisburg DMA
  • Sinclair’s WRLH-TV and Tribune’s WTVR-TV in Richmond
  • Sinclair’s KDSM-TV and Tribune’s WHO-TV in Des Moines
  • Tribune’s WTTV-TV and WXIN-TV in Indianapolis

But, perhaps the biggest stations going into the trust are two Tribune stations that provide coverage of The CW to the nation’s largest DMA and to “America’s Finest City.”

Divestiture Trust Applications are also being filed with respect to Tribune’s WPIX-11 in New York, and to KSWB-5 in San Diego, in order to facilitate the Sinclair/Tribune transaction’s compliance with the National Cap Rule.

Sinclair notes that these applications will not implicate either the local or national multiple ownership rules with respect to the Trust.

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