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When Sinclair Inc. confirmed the closure of five of its newsrooms in mid-size and smaller markets earlier this month, it signaled that a reckoning had arrived. Part of that was Sinclair itself having to concede the bankruptcy of its regional sports networks division, Diamond Sports, wasn’t nearly as quarantined from the rest of the company as it let on.
But another part was that this year’s exceedingly challenged spot ad business has reached a tipping point, and jobs and entire newsrooms are now in the crosshairs as station groups confront hard choices ahead.
In this Talking TV conversation, Emily Barr, TVNewsCheck columnist and former president-CEO of Graham Media, shares her take on whether Sinclair’s actions may be the point of the spear for the entire industry. She weighs in on which markets might be particularly vulnerable as the prospect of recession casts a shadow over the U.S. economy. And she considers local broadcast’s dangerous addiction to political spending and how that creates its own challenges for station groups.
Episode transcript below, edited for clarity.
Michael Depp: Sinclair’s closure of news operations in five markets prompts a number of questions. Among them: Is this a harbinger of things to come in smaller to mid-sized DMAs with too many competitors and too few advertisers? Is this uniquely a Sinclair problem, a knock-on effect of the Diamond sports bankruptcy? And what are the implications for widening news deserts?
I’m Michael Depp, editor of TVNewsCheck, and this is Talking TV. To help answer
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