Sen. Elizabeth Warren Advises FCC to Keep Vetting Standard General-Tegna

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) (Image credit: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wrote FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel this week to provide moral support for the regulator’s decision to designate the Standard General-Tegna station group merger for hearing before an administrative law judge.

Warren has been a critic of the deal as anticompetitive consolidation and a fan of the hearing designation.

“I urge the [Federal Communications Commission] to continue its thorough and careful review, regardless of recent calls by supporters of the deal to rush through the agency consideration," Warren wrote. Warren has said that she fears the deal will mean layoffs, reduced competition for ads and increased retransmission-consent fees.

The companies have made numerous promises that they say address those concerns, but Warren is skeptical of behavioral remedies, which she says are hard to monitor and easy to evade. “I commend the FCC for taking these concerns seriously by reviewing the merger thoroughly, consistent with its statutory authority,” she told Rosenworcel.

Arguably the “rush through” characterization is a bit of a stretch since the FCC is currently on day 309 of its informal 180-day timeline for reviews. That includes multiple requests for documents from the parties.

Standard General agreed to acquire Tegna in February of 2022 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.

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.