After Sinclair Broadcast Group laid off more than 20 employees at its recently-acquired stations in Seattle and Portland this month, The Seattle Times called on the FCC to block pending media consolidation deals in an editorial today, writing that Seattle viewers are losing “strong, local journalism.”
Welcome to the Northwest, Sinclair. Decimating the soul of this city’s last locally owned commercial TV station is a heck of an introduction. Those editors, satellite-truck operators, writers and producers are vital to keeping our community informed via the people’s airwaves, which stations are entrusted with to balance profit and public interest.[…] Within two years, Sinclair has closed or pursued deals to increase its holdings from 58 to 162 stations — covering nearly 40 percent of the country’s audience. The FCC turns a blind eye to Sinclair and its copycats.
Tribune — owner of KCPQ — just emerged from bankruptcy. Already, it’s using sidecars to purchase 20 stations for $2.7 billion. Gannett laid off hundreds in August while simultaneously attempting a $1.5 billion takeover of KING and 19 other Belo-owned stations.
The FCC should block these pending deals. Enforce the rules.