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Sinclair Broadcast Group - How a Conservative TV Giant Is Ridding Itself of Regulation

August 14, 2017View for printing

The day before President Trump's inauguration, the top executive of the Sinclair Broadcast Group , the nation's largest owner of television stations, invited an important guest to the headquarters of the company's Washington-area ABC affiliate.

The trip was, in the parlance of the business world, a deal closer.

The invitation from David D. Smith, the chairman of Sinclair, went to Ajit V. Pai, a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission who was about to be named the broadcast industry's chief regulator. Mr. Smith wanted Mr. Pai to ease up on efforts under President Barack Obama to crack down on media consolidation, which were threatening Sinclair's ambitions to grow even bigger.

Mr. Smith did not have to wait long.

It is a case of a powerful regulator and an industry giant sharing a political ideology, and suddenly, with the election of Mr. Trump, having free rein to pursue it -- with both Mr. Smith, 66, and Mr. Pai, 44, reaping rewards.


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