FCC Approves Sinclair's $1B Deal to Buy Allbritton TV Stations, Including KATV

Reuters and others are reporting that Sinclair Broadcast Group's $985 million deal to buy TV stations owned by Allbritton Communication has been approved by the FCC:

The FCC's Media Bureau said Sinclair will divest the TV station in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and will give up licenses of Allbritton stations in Birmingham, Alabama and Charleston, South Carolina, delivering programming there through so-called multi-casting on the signal of the stations Sinclair already owns.

The two companies announced the deal nearly one year ago, on July 29, 2013. It includes Little Rock ABC affiliate KATV-TV, Channel 7, Allbritton's flagship station WJLA-TV in Washington D.C., and NewsChannel 8, a 24-hour news channel that's also in the nation's capital.

Allbritton announced in May 2013 its intention to sell those stations, saying it wanted to focus on its digital properties, including Politico.

To that end, Robert Allbritton spoke to Politico today about the sale of the stations:

"Hey it’s great to do a deal, but it’s kind of tough to walk away. I’ve been doing this 20 years personally, and you don’t walk away from that without some thoughts," Robert Allbritton said in an interview. "It’s going to be a good business for a while to come, but man, I’m 45 and I don’t know if it’s going to be a good business for the rest of my life."

Allbritton said Internet-based communications are the way things are headed.

"What you guys at Politico are doing is the future," he said. "It’s just the way media is changing now, and man, is it changing fast."

The Allbritton stations fill out Sinclair's growing portfolio. The deal will put the Hunt Valley, Maryland, media firm in control of 162 stations in 78 markets, meaning that Sinclair now reaches about 40 percent of U.S. TV households.

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