The imminent collapse of Sinclair’s merger makes the combative station group one of the all-time losers in FCC regulatory history, but they’re not the only ones who’ve lost. Here are some of the other losers caught up in this week’s train wreck along with some of the winners. At the top of the latter group is FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who has clearly signaled that he is no pushover.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has proposed moving oversight of its Equal Employment Opportunity rules from the Media Bureau to the Enforcement Bureau. That came on what Pai identified as the 50th anniversary of the FCC’s commitment to make sure the national policy against discrimination applied to broadcast licenses as well.
A dozen senators called on the FCC to investigate Sinclair Broadcast Group for distorting the news, and to pause its review of the pending acquisition of Tribune Media. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai immediately shot down the request, saying it would conflict with his commitment to the First Amendment and freedom of the press.
The FCC chairman says his approach to broadcast regulations is “You either believe in scrapping outdated regulations or you don’t. We do.” And he thanks broadcasters for their support, especially during the controversy over net neutrality which resulted in death threats.
The FCC has refused a Freedom of Information request for the emails planning a net neutrality video that features Ajit Pai dancing with a lightsaber.
Free Press and other groups challenge what they call the FCC’s dramatic reversal of media-ownership limits that pave way for media mergers, including Sinclair-Tribune.
Sinclair’s behavior in trying to merge with Tribune is doing it — and the entire broadcasting industry — no favors. By dragging out this process, and by pressing for every advantage, Sinclair is making life difficult for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who has been broadcasters’ best friend in that job in decades.
Chairman Ajit Pai steps up the FCC’s efforts to help the island territories repair and expand wireless and broadband networks devastated by last year’s hurricanes.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai received the National Rifle Association’s “Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award” at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday. The NRA-sponsored award was given to Pai in recognition of months of heavy criticism over his successful push to repeal the agency’s net neutrality rules last December.
By the end of last year, in a previously undisclosed move, the FCC’s inspector general, the agency’s top internal watchdog, opened an investigation into whether FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and his aides had improperly pushed for TV station ownership rule changes and whether they had timed them to benefit Sinclair Broadcast Group, according to Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey and two congressional aides.
“To bridge America’s digital divide, we’ll have to use innovative technologies,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said today. Pai also said the proposal would increase competition among internet service providers, and he encouraged the agency’s commissioners to approve an application from SpaceX to begin the project.
A reported White House proposal to nationalize a 5G network currently being developed by the private sector drew opposition Monday from telecom regulators (including all five FCC commissioners) and industry groups.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: “It’s one week into 2018, and thanks to the Kansas City Chiefs, my New Year’s resolution to minimize sports-related verbal outbursts is already shot. But fortunately, the FCC is poised to make good on one of my top resolutions from last year: prioritizing high-quality economic and data analysis at the agency.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had kind words today for fellow Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr who was nominated for a full five-year term by President Trump. “I congratulate Brendan on his nomination to serve a full five-year term at the FCC,” Pai said. “He is a distinguished public servant who has hit the ground running during his first months as a Commissioner, including by leading the FCC’s efforts to expedite the deployment of wireless infrastructure. I look forward to continuing to work with him in the months and years to come.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai canceled his scheduled appearance at the major upcoming tech industry trade show after receiving death threats, two agency sources told Recode on Thursday. It’s the second known incident in which Pai’s safety may have been at risk, after a bomb threat abruptly forced the chairman to halt his controversial vote to scrap the U.S. government’s net neutrality rules in December 2017.
Following a controversial vote to end Obama-era net neutrality protections, the agency’s chairman calls off plans to be a panelist at the tech industry’s annual trade show.
The FCC chairman, by restoring the UHF discount earlier this year, has for all practical purposes substantially increased the national TV ownership cap. Approving Sinclair-Tribune early next year will reaffirm that fact. The commission’s rulemaking set to launch on Dec. 14 to examine changing or eliminating the ownership limit may turn out simply to be a codification.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said on Tuesday he is proposing rolling back “net neutrality” rules to where they were three years ago, a move he says will not damage online access, as critics have argued.
After proposing to dismantle net neutrality rules, and setting off a firestorm of criticism, Ajit Pai, the chairman of the FCC, said his family has become the target of harassment.
The chairman says his proposed order — to be released tomorrow and voted on on Dec. 14 — would mean “the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet.” In addition, he said, “the Federal Trade Commission will once again be able to police ISPs, protect consumers, and promote competition, just as it did before 2015.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai circulates a draft of a rulemaking to consider retaining, modifying or eliminating the cap that, with the restoration of the UHF discount earlier this year, now enables TV station groups to reach as many as 78% of TV homes. A vote on the proposal is set for Dec. 14.
Senators led by Cantwell and Udall say there’s a troubling timeline and call for Pai to recuse himself from Sinclair-related business until the matter is fully investigated.
Top House Democrats are calling for the chairman of the FCC to be investigated over whether he has been improperly clearing regulatory hurdles for the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s pending acquisition of Tribune Media.
The president’s steady stream of anti-media rants puts government officials like FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and DOJ’s Makan Delrahim in a tough spot. Every time they take an action that negatively affects a news organization that Trump has targeted, they will be accused of acting as an agent for Trump. So, why is Pai making excuses for him?
FCC’s Ajit Pai: “For over four decades, the FCC has restricted the ability of broadcast media outlets to also own newspapers, and vice versa, in the same market, under what is known as the newspaper-broadcast crossownership rule. There’s ample evidence that the crossownership rule has led to less local reporting. Simple fairness is another reason to change the rule.”
Michigan Democrat Debbie Dingell asks FCC’s Pai about what types of information would be collected from consumers to implement targeted advertisements under the new standard, and how the data would be handled and protected to ensure consumers’ privacy.
Thirteen members of Congress ask FCC’s Pai to allow public comments on its plan to loosen station ownership rules.
Broadcasters have been expecting good things from new FCC chief Ajit Pai. And he didn’t disappoint with the agenda for next month’s FCC meeting. There was good news on two fronts. First was the plan to relax the local ownership rules. Then came word that the FCC will greenlight ATSC 3.0.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai this afternoon confirmed that the agency will vote Nov. 16 on a proposal that would clear the way for broadcasters to use next-generation ATSC 3.0 technology. Details about the proposed regulations are not expected to be released until later this evening. But in a blog on the FCC’s website this afternoon (see here), Pai said the issue for the agency is whether to “allow television broadcasters to use Next Gen TV on a voluntary, market-driven basis. The bottom line is this: I want America to be at the forefront of innovation in the broadcast sector, the wireless sector, and every other sector of the communications industry.”
Under questioning by New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone at a House hearing, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai would not be drawn into criticizing the president for suggesting that the FCC ought to revoke the licenses of media companies for news stories Trump felt were untrue. However, Pai did say that he would not use the power of the FCC for retribution against any media company because of its reporting.
In House testimony Wednesday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai unveiled his dereg plan that would allow broadcasters to own two TV stations, possibly two network affiliates, in any market regardless of size, and operate still more stations in the same market through JSAs and SSAs. The current restrictions are outdated, he says. They presume that the market is still defined by “pulp and rabbit ears.” A full draft of his proposal is due out Thursday.
Speaking at Wednesday’s oversight hearing before the House Communications Subcommittee, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel says she’s suspicious of recent FCC actions that seem designed to benefit Sinclair Broadcast Group. “I think it is something that merits investigation.” Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said he would be looking into FCC’s evasiveness on Sinclair and other matters.
Democrats will get the chance to grill the chairman of the FCC over President Trump’s tweets attacking media outlets during a hearing Wednesday. The House Commerce subcommittee on technology will hold its first FCC oversight hearing since the agency added two commissioners over the summer. And a new controversy involving the president will take center stage.
I can almost understand Republican Chairman Ajit Pai’s muted response to Trump’s tweeted threats against NBC’s TV station licenses, but not those of Democratic Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn. If what they’ve said so far reflects their passion for protecting media from Trump at the FCC, the networks and their licensed stations may be in a little trouble.
The top U.S. communications regulator on Tuesday declined to criticize President Donald Trump’s attacks on broadcasters. In his first public appearance since Trump tweeted that Comcast’s NBC and other broadcasters should lose their licenses for reporting “fake news,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai instead noted that his agency could not do what the president wanted.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has told an opponent of Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.’s proposed purchase of Tribune Media that the agency may review media ownership rules before ruling on the $3.9 billion deal, something that could delay a decision on the merger.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is facing increasing pressure to distance himself from President Donald Trump’s threats against NBC — a course of action that would risk provoking the president’s Twitter-fueled wrath.
A group of House members says the commission needs to not grant extensions to the 39-month timeline of the spectrum repack.
Among those offering congratulations was NAB President Gordon Smith: “Chairman Pai understands broadcasting’s unique role as an indispensable communications medium, and we appreciate his effort to ease outdated regulatory burdens on local radio and TV. We share his vision for a vibrant communications future.”