ACA Attacks Sinclair’s Allbritton Purchase

The American Cable Association tells the FCC that the proposed purchase of seven stations will mean Sinclair will be able to negotiate retransmission consent deals for multiple stations in both Harrisburg, Pa., and Charleston, S.C.

The American Cable Association has asked the FCC to either deny Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed purchase of Allbritton Communications or prohibit Sinclair from representing multiple stations in a single market in retransmission consent negotiations.

Sinclair announced in July a deal to acquire WJLA Washington and six other ABC affiliates in smaller markets from Allbritton for $985 million.

In its petition to deny filed last Friday, ACA said that it was particularly concerned about Sinclair’s plans for two of the Allbritton markets, Harrisburg-Lancaster, Pa. (DMA 43), and Charleston, S.C. (DMA 95). Since Sinclair already owns or controls stations in those markets, it plans to spin off the stations to third parties to comply with the FCC local ownership limits, but provide certain services and retain a measure of control over the stations by contract.

According to ACA, “The transaction would allow Sinclair to negotiate retransmission consent for both the CBS and ABC affiliates in Harrisburg and the Fox and ABC affiliates in Charleston.

“These combinations of two ‘Big Four’ network affiliates will give Sinclair more leverage in these markets than it already has, leading to higher prices for retransmission consent.

“In both of these markets, the transaction would harm consumers by increasing the cost of pay-TV service, and increasing the threat of blackouts and the harm caused by actual blackouts.”


Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow  PUSH Coalition has also asked to deny the sale.

Comments (4)

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kendra campbell says:

September 16, 2013 at 9:00 am

WRAL-TV has 42 people in its new media/ department. If you want to make a real impact it can’t be done on the cheap. Most local TV stations operate with a “smoke and mirrors” philosophy.

    kendra campbell says:

    September 16, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Sorry – this should have been posted to the above WRAL/KSL website story.

Joanne McDonald says:

September 16, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Sinclair should give competitors a chance to acquire any of the stations they are forced to spin off to meet regulators. For example allow like Nexstar to purchase WHP and WLYH while Sinclair can focus on WHTM. ABC can buy themselves WJLA as a way for Sinclair to not have to deal with anti competitive behavior and a quadrology of owning ABC in Washington and owning and controlling FOX, CW, and MYNET in Baltimore within a 60 mile radius between Washington DC and Baltimore.

ACA can understand me that I’m against Sinclair acquisition of Allbritton stations. Sinclair likely will use the purchase of Allbritton station to further engaged in 1910-1940 era Paramount Pictures type of block booking style type of anticompetitive behavioral practices to MSO’s including Directv and Dish and newer entrants such as Aereo and Filmonx to only allow MSO’s to carry their in market stations than carrying out of market stations affiliated with the same network that’s not owned by Sinclair in both SDTV and HDTV.

    Wagner Pereira says:

    September 16, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Blah Blah Blah. Get it through your head. ABC DOES NOT WANT WJLA. Furthermore, DC and Baltimore are two different DMAs with totally different television viewership.

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