Freedom Communications, the Irvine-based media company whose flagship newspaper is the Orange County Register of Santa Ana, has completed the sale of its eight television stations to the company that famously ordered its ABC affiliates not to show an April 30, 2004, Nightline tribute to American soldiers killed in Iraq
(because it was “too political”). Sinclair Broadcast Group of Hunt Valley, Maryland, also had its hundreds of stations run prime-time infomercials in October 2004 critical of Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's
Vietnam War service and anti-war activism, and another in November 2010 painting Barack Obama as an extremist.
Now, it's possible liberty lovun Freedom sold its stations that are all outside California to Sinclair because of the buyer's political moxie. But more important to the bottom line is unhinging itself of the eight money suckers.
Coupled with recent sales of some newspapers outside Cali you've never heard of, the TV deal supposedly erases the debt that threatened to sink the whole Freedom enchilada. The company emerged from bankruptcy protection two years ago still $325 million in debt.
Ironically, Sinclair Media Group filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2009 that stated it would have to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy if $1.33 billion in debt could not be refinanced.
The Federal Communications Commission is expected to approve the Freedom-Sinclair deal by the end of the year. It would give the Maryland concern a total of 65 stations in 35 markets. New viewers can set their DVRs now for the next slew of anti-Obama rant shows.