FCC Peppered With Petitions to Deny Sinclair/Tribune Deal

The Communications Workers of America, National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA, the NewsGuild-CWA, and the Parents Television Council have all filed petitions with the FCC asking it to deny the merger between Sinclair and Tribune, which would create the largest broadcast group in the country with over 200 stations.

The unions filed jointly, saying that the deal would reduce competition, harm localism, diminish viewpoint diversity, and eliminate jobs.

PTC was not specifically aiming at Sinclair, but said that consolidation invariably has led to increases in graphic and explicit conduct.

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"While we have no reason to believe that Sinclair, specifically, would increase the volume and/or degree of explicit content at times of the day when children are likely to be watching, the PTC vehemently opposes the FCC from adopting a regulatory structure that most assuredly will allow other corporate entities to do so."

PTC claims Sinclair has failed to provide assurances that local community standards will be "honored and embraced," and instead has demonstrated a "vice-grip-like control over local broadcast outlets’ messaging [that] demonstrates the very determined corporate control of local voices that we eschew."

Commenters have until July 12 to weigh in, but initial comments were due Wednesday (June 20).

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.