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 ….”
Sinclair Broadcast Group is planning to launch a streaming TV service this year that could create a new competitor for Fox News. The free streaming app, called STIRR, would house a 24/7 TV channel featuring local news and national programming, according to sources familiar with the project and a trademark application. It would also offer a variety of other live and on-demand programming, from TV shows to movies to sports.
Rebecca Hanson will be responsible for the legal and regulatory operations of HC2’s growing portfolio of mostly low-power TV stations, including the transition to the new ATSC 3.0 standard and related broadcast innovations.
Sinclair was vigorously defending its proposal to buy Tribune’s stations against all comers on July 5, responding to critics by telling the FCC that it is being asked to make decisions based on subjective disagreements over Sinclair content or views of a marketplace that no longer exists. In its reply to various petitions to deny the deal at the FCC, Sinclair said that critics seemed to think it was still a world with seven TV channels and phones are just phones rather than video access devices.
Sinclair Broadcast Group’s bid to become a broadcasting powerhouse by purchasing Tribune Media Co. hinges on spinning off TV stations to comply with U.S. limits on broadcast ownership. Yet its proposals to sell stations from Pennsylvania to California are drawing fresh scrutiny, as critics including business rivals say some of the transactions are designed to evade the ownership rules.
A new Morning Consult/Politico poll finds a 41% plurality trust local news more than national news, but many rely more on national news to stay informed.
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.
A dozen senators wrote to the FCC today to urge the agency to investigate Sinclair Broadcast Group and pause its proposed merger with Tribune Media.
Sinclair’ EVP Steve Pruett used an NAB panel on Wednesday to lay out a loosely defined vision for a nationally distributed Sinclair news platform.
On Tuesday, a link to a four-minute video specifically attacking CNN was posted atop the web sites of Sinclair’s stations. The video calls the network reprehensible for reporting on its directives, and said the “fake news” message was similar to warnings that CNN and its media reporter, Brian Stelter, have been giving for years. The video shows clips of Stelter’s reports. “Is it really news that fake news is a concern in 2018, or is this an attack on Sinclair?” the company said in Tuesday’s video.