Sinclair Broadcast expects deregulation under Trump

Under Trump, Hunt Valley-based Sinclair Broadcast expects significant deregulation.

Executives of Hunt Valley-based Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. expect significant deregulation in the broadcast industry under a Donald Trump presidency, company officials said Wednesday.

Sinclair's top executives discussed their thoughts on a Trump regulatory environment during the 5th annual Wells Fargo Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in New York, wrote Marci Ryvicker, a Wells Fargo senior analyst, in a report Wednesday.

"With a Trump win, significant deregulation is expected," Ryvicker said. "The first place where broadcast would ask for relief is the 39 percent ownership cap, given how outdated it is in light of a changing television ecosystem."

Under Federal Communications Commission rules, a single television station owner cannot reach more than 39 percent of the national television viewing audience. Only half of UHF station households are counted in the calculations. By the end of last year, Sinclair had a U.S. television market reach of more than 37.4 percent, or 23.2 percent counting the UHF discount.

Sinclair executives also said at the conference they do not expect to have a new vision under management changes announced last week. Sinclair CEO David Smith will step back from day-to-day operations and become executive chairman, effective Jan. 1, and Chris Ripley, currently the chief financial officer, will become president and CEO.

"David will be more able to focus on 'global issues,'" such as a new broadcast standard to enable mobile and 3D television "while Chris tackles overall execution helping [Sinclair] evolve into a content creator, data distributor and marketer," Ryvicker said.

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