The Sinclair Broadcast Group which has denied all sorts of interest in challenging Fox News in the previous months while waiting for the approval of a merger with Tribune Co. is now gearing up to do just that. David Smith who is the executive chairman of the Sinclair Broadcast Group has been holding meetings with potential future employees which included former staff members of Fox News and was laying out a vision for an evening block of opinion & news programming which would be competing with the top-rated line up of Fox News. This is per the reports of a person who is familiar with the meetings. The Sinclair Broadcast Group presently owns the Tennis Channel and as a part of the 3.9 billion dollars Tribune Co. The deal pending before the Federal Communications would be acquiring WGN America which is a cable network that currently reaches about eighty billion homes.
David Smith who has personally been involved in at least some of the meetings still seems to be working out the different aspects of the plan which includes those networks that would be housing his news and opinion programming. Smith has been discussing a block of at least three hours of time but also up to a time period of six hours. Smith is settled on making Washington DC the base of his new operations which is just down the road from the headquarters of Sinclair Broadcast Group in Baltimore. This is according to the reports of the person who is quite familiar with the discussions that were held. The company is already in possession of the local Washington station WJLA where it produces some of its national content.
Chris Ripley who is the CEO of the Sinclair Broadcast Group told the Variety the previous summer that these meetings actually conflict with the previous statements that were given by the Sinclair Broadcast Group in denying interest in a national news platform He stated that after acquiring Allbritton Communications in the year 2014, they looked quite hard at the launching of a national cable news channel but ultimately they decided that the world does not require another cable news platform. He mentioned that their strong point is local news and the market of national cable news is extremely well served. On the other hand, Sinclair did not respond for a number of requests for commenting on it.