For Immediate Release
David Vance (202) 736-5712 email@example.com
Common Cause joins Public Knowledge in Requesting FCC Delay Review of Sinclair-Tribune Merger Pending D.C. Circuit Case
WASHINGTON - Today, Common Cause joined Public Knowledge in filing a motion requesting the FCC hold the Sinclair-Tribune merger review in abeyance pending the D.C. Circuit’s review of the agency’s decision to reinstate the UHF Discount. The UHF discount is a provision that allows broadcasters operating UHF stations to only count half their coverage area when determining if they fall under the national ownership cap. The UHF discount was eliminated in 2016 after the FCC found there was no longer a technical justification for it. However, the current FCC voted to reinstate the UHF discount last year. Soon after the FCC reinstated the UHF discount, Sinclair announced its merger with Tribune. Without the UHF discount, Sinclair’s merger would allow it to reach 72% of households nationwide far exceeding the 39% ownership cap set by Congress.
Common Cause is one of the petitioners who filed a legal challenge at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on the FCC’s decision to reinstate the UHF discount. The D.C. Circuit is currently reviewing whether the FCC’s decision to reinstate the UHF discount was arbitrary and capricious.
“The Commission is aware that the D.C. Circuit is currently reviewing the agency’s decision to reinstate the UHF discount, a regulatory loophole that would allow Sinclair to own stations well beyond the Congressionally-mandated 39 percent ownership cap,” said Yosef Getachew, director of Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Program. "Deciding on the merger prior to the D.C. Circuit’s decision has the potential to grant an unjustifiably high degree of ownership to a single entity without regard for the court’s interpretation of the law. Because the Sinclair merger will have far-reaching and long-lasting impact on consumers, the FCC should delay its review of the merger until the D.C. has made a decision on whether the UHF discount is arbitrary and capricious.”
To view the filing, click here.
To view this release online, click here.
This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.
Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.