Unions Oppose Expedited Court Review of FCC’s Standard General-Tegna Decision

Prettyman Court of Appeals
Standard General appealed the FCC’s designation of its deal to acquire Tegna to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Opponents of the Standard General-Tegna (SG-Tegna) merger say the companies’ application for “emergency” expedited court review of the Federal Communications Commission’s designation of the deal to a hearing before an administrative law judge should be rejected.

Standard General and Tegna want the court to rule within a month.

In opposition to an expedited court review of the FCC decision filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, The NewsGuild, the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA, United Church of Christ and Common Cause, told the court that the designation is not an appealable final order.

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They also said that SG-Tegna’s claim that the expedited hearing is necessitated by the May 22 deadline for financing the deal is a privately negotiated deadline that does not justify “circumventing the FCC’s process for deciding whether the deal serves the public interest.”

The FCC’s Media Bureau, after most of a year of vetting, said the hearing was necessary because of ongoing questions about the deal’s impact on local news and retrans fees. And while SG-Tegna said the nearly year-long review was an egregious delay — the FCC has an informal 180-day shot clock on deal reviews — the FCC had conducted a “reasonable and timely process.” 

Late Wednesday, the court asked Standard General-Tegna to respond to the unions' argument by noon Thursday (March 30).▪️

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.