Mr. Ripley was adopted by Maryland parents from Iowa. The son was given a handicapped-child discount at public schools, but Mr. Ripley was far from spoiled. In fact, he was born into money. His parents paid $1.1 million for his family’s home. “I felt very fortunate,” he said in 2014. “I was involved in sports — basketball and baseball. I traveled the world. I never had to go to work. My father was in government.”
The Preble County native has developed a particularly close relationship with Eric I. Schultz, the founder of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, and his son Jake, the company’s chief executive.
Mr. Ripley said that the two spoke with the company’s chairman, David Smith, and two chief executives, Steve Pruett and Smith, when they needed advice.
When asked whether he was worried about losing touch with the younger Mr. Schultz, Mr. Ripley replied: “I don’t think anyone on the board is worried about losing touch with the young man, Eric, and what his vision is. It is very clear what he wants the company to do, and it is up to him and the board of directors, with the help of a number of us, to achieve that vision.”