In today’s New York Times, Brian Stelter examines how newly-profitable stations, due largely to an uptick in political advertising, have resulted in several recent mergers of local station groups. The recent deals have spurred a renewed debate about station consolidation within the industry, especially as the FCC reviews a draft of its new broadcast ownership rules, which reportedly will eliminate restrictions on cross-ownership of television stations in the same market:
Station operators say that the F.C.C. rules make it more difficult to do business; [Sinclair Broadcasting CFO David] Amy said the regulations have hampered the industry.
The F.C.C. commissioner who has been the most critical of media mergers, Michael J. Copps, said last week that he expected “many more deals” as “the economy improves and station groups continue the quest for all those elusive efficiencies to satisfy the investors.”
“The bottom line,” he said, “is fewer voices, less news and a diminished civic dialogue.”
Recent station mergers are below:
|Freedom Communications||WPEC, WWMT, WRGB-WCWN, WTVC, WLAJ, KTVL, KDFM||Sinclair Broadcasting||$385M|
|Four Points Media||KUTV, KMYU, KEYE, WTVX, WTCN, WWHB, WLWC||Sinclair Broadcasting||$200M|
|McGraw-Hill||KMGH, KGTV, KERO, WRTV||E.W. Scripps||$212M|