1970’s

Julian Sinclair Smith

1971 – The founding of what would eventually become Sinclair Broadcast Group began with Julian Sinclair Smith, father and patriarch to the Smith brothers, our major shareholders. Julian operated an electronics technical school, Commercial Radio Institute, which trained technicians for the many defense industry businesses located around the Baltimore Washington area and supplied broadcast technicians to the local Radio and TV industry.

Julian had an accurate and prescient vision for the future of FM radio and the expansion of the Television service into the UHF frequency band. On February 4th, 1960, at 38 West Biddle Street in Baltimore City he began broadcasting WFMM (Market Music of Maryland) on 93.1 Megahertz in the FM band, At that time, the radio business was centered on the AM band, but because Julian was an engineer, he understood that FM modulation was noise free and therefore offered the listener a better music experience and would, one day, be more valuable than the AM band.

As early as 1962 Julian was thinking about the UHF band and television, and he eventually applied for a UHF license for Baltimore. Once the license was granted, Julian moved WFMM radio to 3500 Parkdale Avenue in the late 1960s where he began to build the studios for WBFF TV. It wasn’t until April 11, 1971, that he was able to put our flagship TV station, WBFF-TV in Baltimore, MD, on the air as an independent TV station that eventually grew into today’s Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Sinclair).