Sinclair Divvies Up WEMT

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Sinclair Broadcast Group Monday said it will sell the broadcast license and the physical assets of its WEMT-TV in the Virginia/Tennessee Tri-Cities market to two different buyers.

Sinclair bought the station in July 1998 as part of a group deal.

BlueStone Television, which already owns Tri-Cities station WCYB, agreed to pay $5.6 million for the station facilities and the transmitter, but it can't own a duopoly in the market, either. So, Aurora Broadcasting will pay Sinclair $1.4 million for the license, pending FCC approval of the transfer, then program the station, with BlueStone providing the non-programming related services, including sales, operations, and aministration.

The sale of WEMT is part of Sinclair's strategy of selling stations in markets where the company has no opportunity to operate two-station duopolies.

"In the past six months, we have announced the sale of $325 million in single station market assets that we were unable to duopolize, but were able sell at very attractive multiples of cash flow," said Sinclair President David Smith. "Our sales . . . continue to demonstrate the under-valuation of television station assets by public equity holders."

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