Start the Clock: FCC Filing Begins 180-Day Sprint to Sinclair’s Partisan Takeover of America’s Local News

Massive Sinclair-Tribune Merger Would Result in Monopolistic Control of Local News Reaching 72% Of American Households


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Late yesterday, Sinclair Broadcast Group filed paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officially announcing their intent to purchase Tribune Media, marking a key step in a massive planned takeover of Tribune’s 42 local news stations. If the merger succeeds, Sinclair would own a staggering 233 television stations across the country capable of reaching 72 percent of American households.

Anyone who cares about quality local news coverage should be deeply concerned with this development. Sinclair has a long history of coming into new markets, firing staff, and consolidating coverage. If this merger is successful, it would drive a stake in the heart of independent local media,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.

He continued, “Sinclair’s acquisition of Tribune Media would result in less trustworthy, independent local media and higher costs for consumers. No national media company should be allowed to own this many local stations – no one media company should have this much power. As the merger process moves forward, Allied Progress will mount an aggressive campaign to fight Sinclair’s unprecedented and monopolistic power grab and defend local news stations across the country.”

In May, Sinclair Broadcast Group struck a deal to acquire Tribune Media for $3.9 billion. The deal was made possible by the Republican-dominated FCC’s decision in April to change the UHF rule determining how many households a single company can reach with its news programming. Prior to the FCC’s rule change, an entity could only own stations reaching up to 39 percent of households. With this merger, Sinclair would reach an unprecedented 72 percent of households.

Sinclair, known for its conservative slant, has garnered headlines for forcing local stations to air politically biased editorials ahead of elections, cutting a deal with Jared Kushner to give the Trump campaign special treatment in its coverage, and most recently has been seen as a potential home for embattled conservative media stars like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.

To speak with Allied Progress about the Sinclair-Tribune merger, please contact Mike Czin at 202-286-7654 or mczin@skdknick.com.

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