NAACP Official Slams FCC’s Tegna Deal Hearing Designation

NAACP official Hazel Dukes
Hazel Dukes (Image credit: Seth Wenig-Pool/Getty Images)

Hazel Dukes, president of the NAACP New York State Conference and former NAACP national president, has joined a growing chorus of critics of the FCC Media Bureau’s decision to designate Standard General’s proposed $8.6 billion acquisition of Tegna for hearing. 

Dukes wrote FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel to express her displeasure with the decision to put the merger before an administrative law judge, a move that delays any decision and historically can kill a deal. In her letter, she called for a speedy adjudication, then a full commission vote.

Dukes pointed out that her voice was just one of many in the diversity community who’ve weighed to support the deal. Others, she pointed out, include Congressional Black Caucus chairman Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nevada), Rainbow/PUSH Coalition founder Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Dukes said the FCC had bowed to pressure by those suggesting that Standard General managing partner Soo Kim, who is Asian-American, is not “the right type of minority.” She said she was appalled by that type of incendiary language and blamed the characterization as a “deliberate and malicious” attempt to create a new regulatory hurdle for the deal.

Standard General has been trying to acquire Tegna’s 64 TV stations and other assets for most of a year, but the FCC’s Media Bureau said a judge needs to weigh in on “material concerns in the record related to how the proposed transaction could artificially raise prices for consumers and result in job losses.”

Standard General agreed to acquire Tegna in an $8.6 billion deal that includes the assumption of $3.2 billion in debt. Apollo Global Management (AGM) is providing some of the funding for the deal. AGM controls Cox Media Group, which will own some of the Tegna stations if the deal is approved.

Petitions to deny were filed by The NewsGuild-CWA, the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET)-CWA. ■

John Eggerton

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.