Belo is shutting down news operations at KMSB, a Fox-affiliate, and turning those duties over to CBS-affiliate KOLD. Dozens of KMSB employees are expected to lose their jobs as a result of the agreement.
“With breathtaking disdain for the public interest, Raycom is seizing effective control of Tucson’s CBS and Fox affiliates,” ACA president and CEO Matthew Polka said in a statement. “As we’ve seen elsewhere, SSAs are strong indicators of bad news to come, including higher retransmission consent fees; higher advertising rates; less competition, localism and diversity; and job loss among news reporters and production employees.”
Concerned that a cojoined KMSB and KOLD would have the market power to demand significantly higher retrans fees, the ACA joined with Dish Network, Time Warner Cable, and two newspaper and broadcast employee unions to send a letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski outlining how the SSA hurts competition.
“To protect consumers, the FCC should conclude that separately owned stations in the same market that coordinate their retransmission consent negotiations are not bargaining in good faith as required by law, and are violating the existing broadcast ownership limits,” Polka said.