BALTIMORE—While Sinclair signaled Wednesday (Feb. 21) that it will be divesting ownership in WPIX-TV New York and WGN-TV Chicago to get under the FCC's 39 percent ownership cap, it could still be keeping its hand in the number one and number three markets, respectively, where it does not currently own any stations.
Sinclair said it already has a purchase agreement for both stations and both those agreements include services agreements, in which Sinclair could provide some services to the new owner.
The amended deal filed with the FCC includes footnotes on the sales of both WGN and WPIX to the effect that: “The purchase agreement provides that upon closing of the sale of this station, Sinclair will enter into an option and master services agreement [the WGN footnote simply says 'services agreement' or 'agreements,' plural] with the buyer of this station [WPIX], copies of which will be filed as part of the assignment application for such station.”
One analyst talking on background said a sale of both stations to Cunningham, which already owns a bunch of stations with various management agreements with Sinclair, is a definite possibility.
The FCC as part of its media deregulation efforts scrapped the previous Democratic FCC's advisory on joint agreements, which warned that the FCC viewed them essentially as a way to skirt FCC ownership rules.
This story first appeared on TVT's sister publication B&C.