The FCC has hit Sinclair Broadcast Group with a $9.495 million settlement to resolve what the commission says are “a number of investigations” including one that found Sinclair wasn’t negotiating its retrans deals in good faith.
“The Commission’s retransmission consent rules, as mandated by Congress, forbid a broadcaster to negotiate jointly for one of its stations and for another station in the same market that it does not control,” said the FCC. “In its investigation, the Media Bureau found that, over the course of seven months, Sinclair negotiated retransmission consent on behalf of dozens stations that it did not control at the same time that it was negotiating for its own stations in the same markets.”
“As Chairman Wheeler made clear just this month, the Commission will not hesitate to take enforcement action where broadcasters or pay TV providers violate their good faith obligations,” said Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake. “Today’s action demonstrates our strong commitment to vigilantly enforce our retransmission consent rules when necessary.”
Sinclair also has to implement a plan to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
As part of the settlement, the Media Bureau has agreed to grant all pending Sinclair renewal applications.