The FCC has voted ease restrictions on media company ownership, according to a report in The Hill. This means Sinclair Broadcast Group can now acquire Tribune Media, if they want.
TVSpy reported in March that Sinclair Broadcast Group has approached Tribune Media to talk about a potential “combination” but needed FCC regulations to be loosened in order to make that happen.
Yesterday, the Democrats argued that a deal could hurt media diversity. From The Hill:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Wednesday asking him to reconsider voting on a rule that would make it easier for media companies to consolidate.
“There is no justification for the FCC to restore the UHF Loophole,” Pelosi and Pallone wrote. “The UHF Loophole is unfair to the public because it treats UHF stations differently only for one purpose — to let big station conglomerates own more stations across the country.”
The Hill reports the vote to reinstate the UHF discount passed 2-1.
Under the Obama Administration, no station group was allowed to reach more than 39 percent of U.S Households. Sinclair already owns, operates or provides services to 173 stations in 81 markets, putting it at 38 percent. Tribune has 42 owned or operated stations and is at 44 percent.