Sinclair, With Allbritton Stations in Hand, Aims for National Cable Network

The Washington Post yesterday, assessing Sinclair Broadcast Group's ambitions to leverage NewsChannel 8, Allbritton Communication's 24-hour local cable news channel, into a national cable presence:

Most people probably wouldn’t even realize if Sinclair Broadcasting was in their living room. It’s no Facebook, after all. Or Netflix, for that matter.

In a world of fast-rising new-media companies, it has old-fashioned big-media ambitions: Control enough local news markets across the land to build a powerhouse to rival CNN and the Big Four networks.

To that end, it bought eight television properties this summer from Allbritton Communications, marking the end of an era for the Washington media family that will pivot its attention toward Politico and other Web ventures. The real prizes in the billion-dollar deal: NewsChannel 8, Washington’s only 24-hour, local news channel, which could be repositioned as a national franchise.

The rest is mainly rehash of Sinclair history: its right-leaning politics, its recent acquisition binge, which includes the purchase of KATV-TV, Channel 7 in Little Rock. And there's worry from media-watchers that too few companies control too many local TV stations. Noted: Three of the country's big local media powerhouses -- Sinclair, Nextar Broadcasting and Gannett -- now have a precence in Arkansas.

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