RI’s Media Getting More Corporate - WPRI’s Parent Buying CW28 & WJAR’s Parent Rivals Fox

Wednesday, August 09, 2017
GoLocalProv Business Team

Big media is getting bigger in Rhode Island. 

WPRI’s parent company Nexstar is buying CW28 in Providence for $4.1 million. This will give Nexstar three stations on Providence — a CBS, a Fox and a CW affiliate. Nexstar is headquartered in Irving, Texas and owns more than 170 stations across the country.

CW28 is presently owned by OTA Broadcasting which was launched by billionaire Michael Dell.

In April, OTA’s Providence stations alone brought in over $158 million in the auction of the station's television spectrum to the wireless companies. Overall, the company brought in $440.7 million by selling the frequency broadcast licenses of 10 stations in the U.S. 


Sinclair Rivaling Fox for Conservative Viewers


Sinclair who owns Providence’s WJAR-10 is building a resume as the most conservative broadcast company.

According to reports, Fox doesn’t like the competition for right-wing viewers. According to Media Post, “There's feuding on the right. ‘It appears that Fox television may hand off its O&O (own and operated) stations and also screw Sinclair in the process.’ 

‘Fox is looking to distance themselves from Sinclair and could pull their affiliation from a number of their stations. Fox is also looking at getting out of the day-to-day running of their O&O's (own and operated), by teaming up with Ion Media.”

In July, GoLocal reported, HBO’s John Oliver show this week focused on “right wing bias” of Sinclair Broadcasting — the nation’s largest owner of local television stations and Providence’s WJAR-10’s parent company.

“Oliver on his HBO show "Last Week Tonight" on Sunday said that Sinclair's right-wing bias rivaled that of Fox News and Breitbart and expressed caution over the planned merger, saying would it inject conservative views into local news broadcasts,” writes Ali Berland at The Hill. 

“I did not know it was possible to dip below the journalistic standards of Breitbart,” said Oliver. “That’s like being too bad a chef to work at a carnival food cart.”

Sinclair is awaiting federal regulatory approval to purchase Tribune, which owns 42 stations, for nearly $4 billion.

On Tuesday, HuffPost reported that there is growing concern about Sinclair using local news to promote conservative views, "Michael Copps, a former FCC commissioner and now a special adviser to Common Cause, said Sinclair 'is the most dangerous company most Americans haven’t heard of.' And Copps specifically questioned the ideological implications of the Maryland-based broadcast company imposing segments ― such as commentaries from former Trump White House official Boris Epshteyn ― onto local newscasts. 

'So much for community news. So much for real news. So much for journalism. So much for fair and open media,' Copps lamented. 'No one company should have such power over the news and information that citizens must have.'"


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