Sinclair Broadcast Group Ends Maureen Bunyan’s Contract

An over four decades-long career.

Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of WJLA in Washington, ends its contract with Maureen Bunyan, one of Washington’s longest-serving anchors and one of the first black women in the country to helm a local evening broadcast.

As Washington Post’s Paul Farhi reports, Sinclair is using an opt-out clause in the multi-year contract signed in 2015 to end her time behind the anchor desk at the end of this month.

Since taking over the station in 2014, Sinclair has let go a number of longtime anchors and reporters, including Leon Harris a few months ago. Farhi notes that the moves are cost-cutting measures, but Richard Prince, citing Farhi’s earlier reports on Sinclair, also notes that the decisions may have an ideological tinge to them:

The conservative-leaning Sinclair, based in the Baltimore area, is the nation’s largest owner of TV stations, with 173 in 81 cities nationwide. But it has developed a harrowing reputation among some of its employees.

When the D.C. market’s longtime anchor Gordon Peterson left WJLA in 2014, Paul Farhi reported in the Washington Post that Sinclair “has rapidly made over the station in its more conservative image.”

In addition to her broadcasting career, Bunyan is a co-founder of both the National Association of Black Journalists and the International Women’s Media Foundation.