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WGN in Chicago is one of the station's Sinclair said it had found a buyer for. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Sinclair Broadcast Group said Wednesday it would sell several television stations as it looks to bring its purchase of a group of Tribune stations into compliance with media ownership rules and win the blessing of regulators.

Why it matters: Even with the sell-off, the deal will make the right-leaning Sinclair far and away the most powerful local broadcaster in America.

What they’re saying: Sinclair said in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission that it plans to sell WGN in Chicago, WPIX in New York and KSWB in San Diego to comply with the overall cap on how many people a single broadcaster can reach. It has already found buyers for the New York and Chicago stations, according to the filing.

  • It indicated it would sell “one or more” stations in eight markets so that it wouldn’t violate ownership rules. One of the markets, Des Moines, Iowa, is where Democrats were worried the conservative Sinclair would be able to exert more power over a crucial political ad market.
  • But it has asked the commission to waive its prohibition on one company owning two of the top four stations in a market in three markets.

Broadcasting & Cable notes that many of the stations Tribune plans to sell will be put in a trust which could give regulators some room to change the sales needed to get the deal approved.

What’s next: The FCC will give the public a chance to comment on the updated merger application, and ultimately decide whether or not to approve the deal. The Department of Justice also has to sign off and has reportedly been having discussions with Sinclair about selling some stations.

Go deeper

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth-quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.