Monday, July 28, 2014

FCC approves sale of Allbritton stations, giving Sinclair an even larger chunk of rural television

The Federal Communications Commission last week "approved the $985 million deal between Sinclair Broadcast Group and Allbritton Communications with divestitures and other conditions," Alina Selyukh reports for Reuters. "The FCC's Media Bureau said Sinclair will divest the TV station in Harrisburg, Pa., and give up the licenses of Allbritton stations in Birmingham, Ala., and Charleston, S.C., delivering programming there through so-called multi-casting on the signal of stations Sinclair already owns." 

Sinclair owns or manages 162 television stations in 78 markets, is affiliated with a wide range of networks, and reaches 38.9 percent of U.S. television households. Most of the markets are small or medium-sized. Sinclair has been buying up stations in recent years, having owned only 58 a little more than three years ago.

Republican commissioner Ajit Pai said "that the three stations in Birmingham and Charleston that will have to go dark were 'victims' of the FCC's crackdown. He added that the move might hurt, not promote diversity as the FCC hopes," Selyukh writes. Pai, pointing to Charleston station WCIV owned by African-American Howard Stirk, said, "Apparently the Commission believes that it is better for that station to go out of business than for Howard Stirk Holdings to own the station and participate in a joint sales agreement with Sinclair." (Read more)

No comments: