State legislative Black Caucus leaders have written the FCC to endorse the merger of Standard General and Tegna.
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. It also owns multicast networks True Crime Network, Twist and Quest and advanced-advertising company Premion.
There is a disagreement over the diversity issue, with opponents saying increased ownership diversity does not trump other issues with the deal and supporters pointing to that ownership diversity given the FCC's public interest in advancing it. The merged company will be headed by an Asian American--Soo Kim--and a woman--Deb McDermott.
Also: The Imperative to Invigorate TV News and Civic Engagement
"We believe that this deal is in the public’s interest as it will improve local news, increase diversity in media ownership, and help modernize broadcast television for consumers," said Tonya Anderson, chair of the Georgia State Senate Legislative Caucus; Patricia Henegan, chair of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus; and Kelly Alexander, chair of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus.
Standard General-Tegna have stations in all three states.
"Standard General has demonstrated a consistent history of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion through its investment strategy in local broadcast news," the legislators said.
They urged the FCC to support the deal.
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. ■
Broadcasting & Cable Newsletter
The smarter way to stay on top of broadcasting and cable industry. Sign up below
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.