Civil Rights Group Sends FCC Letter in Support of Standard General-Tegna Deal

Tegna HQ in McLean, Va.
(Image credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Civil rights group Arc of Justice sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission urging it to approve Standard General’s acquisition of Tegna.

The letter testifies to Standard General founder Soo Kim’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Tegna, which owns 64 TV stations in 51 U.S. markets, agreed to be acquired by Standard General in February for $8.6 billion including debt.

During its review of the transaction, the FCC has received objections from unions, public interest groups, competing broadcaster Graham Holdings and cable operators. The complaints include concerns that consolidation will lead to fewer jobs, particularly in newsrooms, and the role of Apollo Global Management in helping to finance the deal.

Also: Standard General CEO Soo Kim Doesn't Understand Tegna Deal Opposition

Earlier this week, the FCC agreed to a two-week extension on the deadline for comments on the proposed merger.

Attorneys for Standard General and Tegna have told the FCC that the petitions to deny their merger are both legally irrelevant and factually incorrect and should be rejected so the deal can go through. The FCC has to sign off on the transfer of any station licenses.

Standard General has also argued that the merger would create the largest minority-owned and woman-led station owner, and that it has a track record of investing in stations and increasing employment.

The new letter from Rev. Kirsten John Foy, the president of the Arc of Justice, a national civil and human rights organization, headquartered in New York with chapters and affiliates in 21 cities across the U.S., talks about Standard General founder Soo Kim’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion going back to his days as owner of radio station WBLS New York.

“Our confidence in Standard General and Tegna is founded not in future promise but on past record and a corporate culture that reflects the American ideals of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,“ Foy’s letter said. “It is founded on Soo Kim’s personal and professional commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and his vision to enlarge the footprint of People of Color in broadcast media.”

“No community has a greater interest in the diversification of America’s broadcast media than African-Americans,“ the letter said. “We have long sought and fought for expanded access to ownership, administration, operational, programmatic opportunities within the television broadcast industry. [Kim’s] new company will operationalize a robust and rigorous vision of inclusion and industrial scale access for Communities of Color, writ large, but specifically to the Black community which through long suffering and moral fortitude has long sought and fought for.” ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.