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Sinclair Shares Surge

Oct 20, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Shares in Sinclair Broadcast Group surged more than 12 percent Wednesday after the embattled broadcaster provided more clues about its plans to air a special Friday that in part discusses Sen. John Kerry’s anti-war activities in the 1970s.

After tumbling for more than a week, shares in the Hunt Valley, Md.-based owner of 62 television stations jumped 79 cents to close at $7.05, a 12.6 percent increase over Tuesday’s close.

The bounce came after Sinclair said it is not planning to air in its entirety “Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal,” a documentary critical of Mr. Kerry’s Vietnam War record, but instead will include excerpts of the film as part of a broader discussion about attempts to influence voting via the media and documentaries.

Word that Sinclair, whose executives have a history of supporting Republican politicians, might air the “Stolen Honor” documentary touched off a firestorm both in Washington and on Wall Street. It also led some Sinclair shareholders to demand an investigation be conducted into whether the “Stolen Honor” imbroglio is a distraction from what they see as mismanagement at the company.

Sinclair shares have been on a steady decline since the beginning of the year, and that trend accelerated in recent weeks following an announcement that its revenue growth in the third quarter would be smaller than originally projected. The company blames the smaller growth on weak automotive advertising and the impact of hurricanes in Florida on its properties in the state. However, some shareholders believe Sinclair has known all year that its businesses are softening.