Smith targets news directors


Sinclair Broadcasting Group Inc. CEO David Smith told investors at the UBS Warburg LLC media
conference last week that the big reason he is centralizing a chunk of his
stations' news production in one Baltimore facility is cost. But he also
questioned the news judgment of local news directors.

"Nothing upsets me more than when a local news director puts a headline story
of a water main break in Los Angeles as local news," Smith said. "That's the
kind of foolishness you see when local news directors are left to their own
devices." He added, "One of the nice things about having a centralized news
operation is that we take all of the politics out of the local news issues. We're
able to focus on content that's ratings-driven, as opposed to fluff, or dog-catcher stories, or whatever people tend to want to follow for whatever their
politics is."

Afterward, Smith softened a bit, saying the real reason for centralizing
news is cost.