Recognizing the benefits of scale and reach, Sinclair led the next wave of industry consolidation. As its platform grew and viewing patterns evolved, Sinclair launched its Digital platform, emerging network and other original content. It was during this time that David Smith’s vision for the mobility and portability of the television signal took hold as the industry coalesced around the need for ATSC 3.0.

2011 – Sinclair kicked off the next wave of industry consolidation when it acquired the Four Points and Freedom Communications stations.

2014 – Sinclair, through its Allbritton Communications acquisition, acquires its first cable channel, NewsChannel8 in Washington D.C. After having acquired 109 stations in the three-year period and adding over $3 billion in assets, Sinclair emerges not only as the leading industry consolidator, but one of the most diversified broadcasters and largest FOX, ABC, CBS, CW and MYTV affiliate in the country.

That same year, Sinclair launched American Sports Network, a collegiate sports initiative, airing over 200 NCAA Division I games in its first year. The Company also launched its Sinclair Original Programming division to create low cost original content for its stations.

In keeping with the Company’s vision for developing the industry’s digital television capabilities, Sinclair launched ONE Media, which along with Coherent Logix, was tasked with developing the next generation wireless data network to enable broadcasters to reach mobile devices, broadcast in 4K ultra high definition, and launch new business models that could change the face of broadcasting as it is known today.

2015 to 2016 – With meaningful scale and reach, Sinclair expanded its focus to becoming multi-platformed and vertically integrated, focusing on original programming, distribution and network content. With its 2,200 hours of local news per week, Sinclair was now the largest producer of local news content in the country and looking to expand nationally. In 2015, the Company added “Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson,” a Sunday morning national news program focused on unique investigative reporting. In 2016, the Company went live with “Circa,” a mobile, digital-first news destination focused on Millenial viewers. As well, Sinclair deployed “NewsOn,” an over-the-top news app.

Further expanding its original content initiatives, in 2015 the Company formed “COMET,” the first-ever science-fiction over-the-air multicast network in partnership with MGM; and transformed “American Sports Network,” the Company’s production of live high school and college games, into a 24/7 multicast network. In 2017, ASN was merged with 120 Sports and Silver Chalice to become Stadium. In 2016, Sinclair acquired its first cable network, Tennis Channel, expanding the Company’s live sports presence and broadening the network’s audience reach. In 2017, Tennis Media and Tennis.com were added, making Sinclair the ultimate destination for all things tennis and tennis lifestyle.

With near 39% reach of the country, Sinclair launched Audience Network Sales, a sales initiative that sells Sinclair’s entire footprint thereby competing for the $50 billion cable network advertising monies.

On the digital front, the Company launched its digital content and video management systems, which unified its digital platforms, simplified workflow and provided for dynamic ad insertion. “Refined,” an on-line, digital-only city magazine/lifestyle website debuted along with a companion television show.

Meanwhile, on the technical front, ONE Media’s essential intellectual property was approved for inclusion in the ATSC 3.0 “Next Generation” transmission standard, bringing Sinclair’s vision for an IP connected and mobile platform closer to reality.

2017 – The year started with the appointment of Christopher Ripley as only the Company’s third CEO & President as David Smith became Executive Chairman. The Company also launched its first vision statement, “Connecting People with Content Everywhere” which epitomized the importance of technology to the future of the Company and the industry.

This year witnessed the completion of the National Broadband Plan Spectrum Auction. As part of the Congressional-mandated and FCC-managed auction, we and our partner stations sold three station licenses in Baltimore, Harrisburg, and Milwaukee for $311 million gross proceeds.

Continuing our mission of wireless distribution, marketing services and content creation, we launched Charge, an action-based emerging network with MGM; and TBD, a Millenial-focused network bringing the best of the web to broadcast television.

In 2019, we announced the acquisition of 21 regional sports networks at a valuation of $10.6 billion, greatly expanding the company’s focus to sports programming.

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With the television platform in place, Sinclair turned its efforts to repositioning the Company for future growth, both operationally and technologically. It was during this time that Sinclair launched the country’s first digital sub-channel using syndicated programming, pioneered retransmission consent fees, and led the industry movement for mobility and portability of the broadcast television signal. The decade also gave witness to the transition from analogue to digital television, as well as two of the country’s worst recessions: 9/11 and the Great Recession.

2001 – The country came under direct, horrific attacks from terrorists. As a result, the national economy, as well as the advertising market, went into a recession seeing the greatest declines in advertising spending in over 50 years.

2004 – With an improving economy, Sinclair’s free cash flow grew, leading to a stronger balance sheet. That same year, the Sinclair Board of Directors approved the Company’s first ever common stock dividend. What began as a $0.10 annual per share dividend rate grew as high as $0.80 before being suspended during the Great Recession.

In that same year, Sinclair was approached by American prisoners of the Vietnam War asking for their voice to be heard through a documentary, “Stolen Honor.” While Sinclair, did not air the program, it did dedicate a public interest show discussing both sides of the topics raised in the documentary.

2005 – Sinclair completed the build-out of its digital television platform, and quickly realized that there were many opportunities to monetize these assets. Understanding that the digital TV platform, as well as the Company’s regular programming, provided multi-channel video programming distributors (MVPDs), such as cable, satellite and telecommunications companies, with valuable programming, Sinclair became the first broadcaster in the country to request compensation from the cable systems for their right to carry programming aired on our stations and funded by us. This compensation, known as retransmission consent agreement fees, provided a new revenue stream for broadcasters and helped to revitalize the over-the-air broadcast industry.

2006 – Changes in the country’s networks altered the make-up of Sinclair’s affiliation mix. That year, the WB Network and the UPN Network combined to become the CW Network. A sixth network, MyNetworkTV, was launched by FOX. Subsequently, Sinclair became the largest FOX and MyNetworkTV affiliate groups, the second largest ABC affiliate group and the third largest CW affiliate group in the country.

That same year, Sinclair launched its first digital sub-channel on WBFF-TV in Baltimore. The new channel, known then as Good TV, was the first syndicated digital sub-channel in the country.

2007 – Sinclair’s vision for utilizing and creating value from its digital TV investment did not stop there. For years, Sinclair advocated for the development of technology that allowed for the portability and mobility of the television signal. In 2006 and 2007, Sinclair once again teamed with consumer electronic manufacturers to test transmission standards to allow broadcasters’ digital signals to be transmitted to and received by portable and mobile devices such as smart phones, laptops, tablets, televisions in cars and other handheld devices. In 2007, Sinclair along with 8 other broadcasters and networks, founded the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) whose purpose it was to promote and evaluate mobile TV technical applications.

This same year, with significant amounts of free cash flow being generated and a strong balance sheet in-hand, Sinclair followed up with a strategy to seek investment opportunities beyond over-the-air television.

2008 – Just as the decade began with a recession, so too did it end. In 2008 and 2009, the country was in the midst of the Great Recession, the worst economic environment the country had experienced since the Great Depression. With high unemployment, financial institutions failing, and homes being foreclosed, the advertising market suffered its greatest losses ever. A few major American automotive manufacturers, which historically have been broadcasters and newspapers largest customers, went bankrupt, contributing to the failure of many long-standing daily newspapers in the country.

2009 – This year was also marked by one of the television broadcast industry’s most historic events. On June 12, 2009, the U.S. government officially turned off the analog television signal forever, thereby ushering in the age of digital television. Sinclair, always considered an industry leader for its technical expertise and vision, would continue to play a major leading role in years to come for the development of mobile television and other broadcast spectrum uses.

It was around this same time that consumer viewing habits began changing dramatically as over-the-top technologies, mobile apps, and social networks were introduced. It was clear that Sinclair would need to be in this space and so our digital interactive (“DI”) platform was born. The DI foundation is based on a three screen approach (fixed TV set, websites and portable applications) to drive local news, to interface with our audience, and to provide for an out-of-home means for our advertisers to reach consumers.

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With David Smith as CEO, the Smith family vision was beginning to take hold as the Company grew from 3 television stations to 59, becoming the largest broadcaster in the country. It was during this time that the Company went public, the Telecommunications Act was passed and the transition from analog to digital television began.

1991 – David Smith was elected to succeed the retiring Bob Simmons. David’s vision of building Sinclair by adding more television stations began in earnest as he entered into one of the country’s first major market Local Marketing Agreements (LMA) with WPTT-TV in Pittsburgh, a visionary new strategy that would build value for the Company and the local community by enabling Sinclair to program a second station in a market where it already owned a station, pursuant to FCC rules.

1994 – Sinclair acquired four stations including adding two LMAs in Milwaukee and Baltimore, thereby doubling the size of the Company.

1995 – In June, rapidly growing Sinclair went public with 13 TV stations in eight markets, realizing approximately $111.5 million to fund future acquisitions. That same year, Sinclair added five more stations in four markets.

1996 – The passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was one of the industry’s biggest catalysts for change, providing for some deregulation and allowing the Company to make acquisitions. Within 10 years after being formed, Sinclair became the nation’s largest commercial television broadcasting company not owned by a network when it acquired River City Broadcasting. The acquisition of River City also launched Sinclair into the radio industry. Sinclair now owned 28 television stations in 21 markets and 23 radio stations in 7 markets. The economies of scale enabled Sinclair to improve margins and maximize programming power.

1997 – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the shift of the television industry from analog to digital television broadcasting (DTV) by granting the first digital licenses to broadcasters. While the industry model focused on high definition television (HDTV), Sinclair, known for its technical expertise, proposed multi-channel television as an added digital television capability and business model.

1998 – Sinclair again doubled in size with such acquisitions as Heritage, Sullivan Broadcasting and Max Media and emerged as one of the largest television broadcasting companies in the United States and one of the top 10 radio broadcasters with 59 television stations in 39 markets and 51 radio stations in 10 markets.

1999 – With Sinclair continuing to grow, the Company’s headquarters was moved from the WBFF studios to a newly-built location in Hunt Valley, Maryland where we reside today. In that same year, Sinclair divested of its radio group to strengthen its balance sheet and to focus on its television platform and the roll-out of digital television. The radio group sale was valued at a historic approximate 19x broadcast cash flow.

With the transition from analog to digital underway, Sinclair engineers attempted a demonstration of the country’s new digital broadcast in Baltimore, which unexpectedly failed. As a result of that failure, Sinclair conducted a series of tests in Philadelphia and Baltimore and determined that the FCC-adopted 8VSB digital standard could not be received in environments where simple multi-path existed. With tests results in hand, Sinclair led a broadcasters’ petition to the FCC to enable broadcasters the opportunity to adopt the COFDM standard, a more robust and flexible standard used elsewhere around the world.

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1986 – Julian and his four sons (David, Fred, Duncan and Rob) combined the operations of their then three independent UHF television stations in Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Columbus under Sinclair, appointing their long-term partner, Robert “Bob” Simmons as the Company’s first President and CEO.

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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).

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