In light of yesterday’s announcement that the FCC chairman has proposed that portions of the acquisition by Sinclair Broadcast Group of the television stations owned by Tribune Media would be designated for hearing, one question that many have asked is, “What does designation for hearing mean?”
Ion, Trinity and Univision have weighed in at the FCC with supplemental evidence for what they argue is the need to roll back the FCC’s 39% cap on a TV station group’s national audience reach, and preferably all the way rather than raising it once again.
“Sinclair’s style in Washington is exhibit A of how to squander the most favorable regulatory environment in decades,” said one industry official.
This year’s application fees will go up by 3.7% in response to increases in the CPI from October 2015 to October 2017. The order also reiterates the commission’s goal of moving to electronic payments as opposed to payments by mail, and notes that it will continue to require electronic payment for additional categories of applications. The new fees won’t kick in until 30 days after the FCC’s order shows up in the Federal Register. In other words, you’ve got some time to prepare and file applications and still take advantage of the current fee schedule.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said Monday he has “serious concerns” about Sinclair Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Tribune Media, announcing he will schedule a hearing on the transaction before an administrative law judge.
On Aug. 24, the Hearst-owned Pittsburgh ABC and Cozi TV affiliate will be the first Pittsburgh station to move frequencies under the spectrum repack.
The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday to take testimony from Facebook, Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube unit and Twitter on whether social media companies are filtering content for political reasons, the committee chairman said.
The U.S. Justice Department has only a remote chance of overturning AT&T’s takeover of Time Warner, Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said on Friday, while warning the case could affect bidding for 21st Century Fox.
Everyone agrees that the media marketplace has changed in the 20 years since the FCC adopted it children’s television rules. There has to be a way to acknowledge that cable, the internet and smartphones take some of the burden off broadcasters. But broadcasters have to offer up some new, innovative proposals. It’s the right thing.
Comments opposing the Sinclair-Tribune deal were piling up in the FCC’s docket Thursday (July 12), the deadline for replies to comments on Sinclair’s fifth version of the deal. Many appeared to be form comments generated by a call to arms (headlined “Stop Trump TV!”) by activist group Democratic Underground. More than half of the 25 comments on the first page of the electronic docket had the same first paragraph beginning with, “I urge the FCC to deny the merger petition ….”