In case you missed it, Broadcasting & Cable reported on Friday that Sinclair Broadcast Group has a new, somewhat surprising, critic of its merger deal with Tribune Media – conservative media outlet Newsmax. Newsmax joined DISH, the American Cable Association, and Public Knowledge in filing a request with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for additional information and documents and an extension of time to consider the merger deal. From the Broadcasting & Cable story:
Newsmax points out the combined company would be the nation’s largest broadcaster, would exceed the FCC’s 39% ownership cap, and would have impermissible duopolies in 11 markets — it would have to divest or the FCC would have to give it some help.
“This current transaction overturns more than three decades of bipartisan consensus and rulemaking, as well as Congressional intent, while raising serious competitive concerns,” said Newsmax, stopping just short of asking for outright denial but coming close.
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It said the pleading cycle should be extended given that the FCC is going to review its media ownership rules, including one related to the UHF discount, which could reduce the need for divestitures if the FCC loosens the duopoly rules to allow more of those impermissible combos.
In its filing with the FCC, Newsmax continued:
“While a rushed pleading cycle with limited public interest scrutiny will immediately benefit Sinclair and Tribune, it would not serve the interests of American consumers, who may be burdened by additional cable/satellite costs due to the market leverage the new combined Sinclair-Tribune company would wield, among several negative economic implications this transaction may hold.”
Newsmax also cited serious concerns about competition and media diversity in its FCC filing and in an interview with B&C.
To speak with Karl Frisch about the Sinclair-Tribune merger, please contact Tucker Middleton at 202-644-8526 or email@example.com.