Sinclair Broadcast Group is selling WGN-TV to a Maryland auto dealer but would remain in control of the station in what critics say is a bid to skirt ownership limits and win federal regulatory approval for its proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media.
That means “Terrorism Alert Desk” and other programming staples of politically conservative Sinclair may yet be headed to Chicago’s airwaves.
Under the terms of the $60 million station sale, filed Wednesday with the Federal Communications Commission, Sinclair would provide everything from programming to advertising sales to the buyer, essentially running WGN-Ch. 9 through a services agreement.
The licensee of WGN would be a newly formed company headed by Steven Fader, a longtime business associate of Sinclair Executive Chairman David Smith. Sinclair will have an option to buy back the station for the same price, subject to adjustments, within eight years.