Frank Washington Pushes Diversity Argument for Standard General-Tegna Merger

Frank Washington of Crossings TV
Crossings TV founder and CEO Frank Washington (Image credit: Crossings TV)

A fan of the Standard General-Tegna deal is charging the Federal Communications Commission with dragging its feet on reviewing a merger that would result in a record TV station purchase by a minority-led company.

Frank Washington, founder and CEO of diverse programming supplier Crossings TV, took to the electronic pages of DC Journal (opens in new tab) to say  the proposed merger between theStanard General and Tegna broadcast groups would help change the mostly white face of the content delivery landscape, citing Elon Musk, Rupert Murdoch, and Mark Zuckerberg as examples.

The op-ed has been summitted to the FCC docket of comments on the proposed deal.

Washington pointed out that Standard General is headed by Soo Kim, a Korean American, so the merger would be the largest-ever TV station purchase by a minority.

Also: Nancy Pelosi, Frank Pallone Have Issues with Standard General-Tegna Merger

Despite that, he said, the FCC is delaying the deal by extending the document review process, and in a way he called “unprecedented,” saying the extended comment and document period is based on “disproven and irrelevant claims.”

Washington painted the problem in black and white: “There have been similar media purchasing deals, but they have not received similar treatment. Is it any wonder so many people question why a minority purchaser often seems to be treated differently than a White counterpart?”

Standard General has pointed out in defending the deal that transactions involving Gray Television’s acquisition of Meredith — which, unlike the Tegna transaction, involved a station divestiture to comply with FCC local-ownership rules — and E.W. Scripps’s acquisition of Ion Media, were vetted and approved in much less time than the nine months the FCC spent vetting its Tegna deal. ■

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.