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Anti-Sinclair-Tribune Merger Coalition Bulks Up

The Coalition to Save Local Media, which is the coalition to block the Sinclair-Tribune merger, has added six new members, according to organizers, including a big union and leased access advocates.

Those new members are the United Church of Christ (UCC), NABET-CWA (representing some 10,000 broadcast employees), the Parents Television Council, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Herndon-Reston Indivisible, and the Leased Access Programmers Association.

"The proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger would result in job cuts at dozens of stations across the country and would harm the ability of local stations to broadcast information vital to their communities in a responsible and unbiased manner," said NABET-CWA President Charlie Braico. "This merger is not in the interest of broadcast industry employees and is not in the interest of the American people."

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"The broad swath of organizations opposing this new proposed Sinclair merger demonstrates that people do not need to agree on policy to agree that a vibrantly competitive local media market place is essential for our society," said Cheryl Leanza, policy advisor to UCC

The coalition, whose founding members include the American Cable Association and Dish, has opened various fronts against the deal, including drumming up congressional opponents, calling on state attorneys general to weigh in against the deal--several have ( a national ad campaign and issuing periodic e-mail updates on the national opinion shows and commentary Sinclair stations are required to air.

Reps. David Price (D-N.C.) and Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) had been scheduled to join other members of the coalition, which includes cable and satellite operators worried about the retrans muscle of a combined Sinclair-Tribune, on Capitol Hill Tuesday (Nov. 7) to criticize the merger, which the coalition maintains jeopardizes localism, competition and viewpoint diversity, but the event was postponed "due to rain," according to the coalition.

Sinclair has said it needs to heavy up to compete with other, larger, program distributors--like cable and satellite and the Internet--with less, or no, comparable regulatory constraints.

The FCC is on day 108 of its informal 180-day shot clock on merger reviews, having restarted that clock last week after pausing it to collect more comment on Sinclair's defense and explanation of the deal, including from NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, which did not give that defense good reviews.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.