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Dielectric finds new life

In April, Dielectric, a supplier of broadcast antennas to many of the most high-profile installations and more than a few local TV stations as well, said it was shutting down its antenna business due to a lack of profitability. The company’s parent, SPX of Charlotte, NC, had said the business was set to officially close on June 29.

In a bit of a turnaround, the company has now announced that it has found a buyer, in the form of Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group, the country’s largest owner of TV stations (with more than 140 owned or operated). Sinclair will buy the assets of the struggling division for roughly $5 million, an attractive price by any measure.

For Sinclair, the value is in the upcoming repacking of TV channels once the spectrum auction is complete. This repack will position stations on different frequencies that will require many stations to buy new antennas and related transmission equipment made by Dielectric. In addition, the majority of Sinclair stations have installed Dielectric antennas and other equipment, so keeping Dielectric in operation will be beneficial to Sinclair’s ongoing RF service across the country.

In a statement, Sinclair President and CEO David Smith said, “Dielectric has supplied more than two-thirds of the TV industry’s high power antennas, and its name is synonymous with expert engineering and quality products. If and when a spectrum repack occurs, Dielectric will be there to support that effort.”

As part of the deal, Dielectric’s existing staff will remain in place at Dielectric, and operations will continue at its Raymond, ME, headquarters. Dielectric will be operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinclair and be called Dielectric LLC. Most of the existing staff and executive team (led by general manager Keith Pelletier) would remain at their present facility in Raymond.

“We feel fortunate to have this opportunity to acquire the Dielectric intellectual property and assets related to our most critical infrastructure,” Smith said. “This acquisition was a logical choice given our in-house RF engineering expertise and our ownership of Aerodyne Services, which installs and services broadcast transmitters and mobile DTV upgrades.”