Last we looked, Sinclair Broadcast Group was getting ready to buy Tribune Broadcasting’s stations, which would cement Sinclair’s position as the largest TV group owner in the country. Undecided at that time: how Sinclair and/or the FCC would deal with the Oklahoma City TV market, which is served by two Tribune stations and two Sinclair stations.
On the very last page of Monday’s Oklahoman there was a brace of legal notices. The first:
On February 21, 2018, an application was filed seeking FCC consent to the assignment of KOKH-TV’s license from KOKH Licensee, LLC to Sinclair Divestiture Trust. KOKH Licensee, LLC is a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. The officers, directors, and 10% or more shareholders of Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. are David D. Smith, Frederick G. Smith, J. Duncan Smith, Robert E. Smith, Howard E. Friedman, Daniel C. Keith, Martin R. Leader, Lawrence E. McCanna, David B. Amy, Christopher S. Ripley, Lucy A. Rutishauser, Barry M. Faber, Steven M. Marks, Steven J. Pruett, David R. Bochenek, Rebecca J. Hanson, Delbert R. Parks, III, Donald H. Thompson, and Robert D. Weisbord.
The Trustee of Sinclair Divestiture Trust is RAFAMEDIA LLC. The Sole Member of RAFAMEDIA LLC is Richard A. Foreman, a respected long-time media broker who has no personal, familial or extra-trust business relationship with Sinclair or its affiliates.
A copy of this application can be found in the station’s online public inspection file at www.fcc.gov.
Second verse, same as the first, except it pertained to KOCB-TV, Sinclair’s other current OKC station.
If that word “divestiture” jumps out at you, well, here are some of the deets:
In an FCC divestiture plan released on February 21, 2018, Sinclair stated it intended to divest either KOKH-TV or KFOR-TV to an unaffiliated third-party buyer to comply with FCC prohibitions on common ownership of two of the four highest-rated local stations in terms of total day viewership, and put them and their respective duopoly partners (KOCB and KAUT) into a divestiture trust independently overseen by Rafamedia LLC (owned by media broker Richard A. Foreman) until a buyer for one of the two Big Four network affiliates is found. Sinclair would also divest either KOCB or KAUT to comply with rules barring singular legal ownership of more than two full-power television stations in a single market (should the buyer not be the acquirer of the divested Big Four outlet, Sinclair would have the option of operating either outlet under a shared services agreement following the completion of the sale).
So it’s sort of official: Sinclair appears to be keeping KFOR-TV (an NBC affiliate) and KAUT (an independent), and ditching KOKH-TV (Fox) and KOCB (The CW). Maybe. I will continue to watch for developments.