Coalition Seeks To Deny Gannett-Belo

In joint comments, Free Press, Common Cause, the Institute for Public Representation, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ Inc., NABET-CWA and The Newspaper Guild-CWA say the FCC should deny the proposed sale because it violates the commission's newspaper-broadcast crossownership rule or the television duopoly rule.

On Wednesday evening, six groups petitioned the FCC to deny Gannett’s acquisition of TV station owner Belo, claiming the acquisition of several of the stations would violate the FCC’s newspaper-broadcast crossownership rule or the television duopoly rule.

The petitioners were Free Press, Common Cause, the Institute for Public Representation, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ Inc., NABET-CWA and The Newspaper Guild-CWA.

The group’s filing said: “Gannett’s acquisition of several of Belo’s television stations — in cities including Louisville, Ky.; Phoenix; Portland; Ore.; and St. Louis — would violate the FCC’s newspaper-broadcast crossownership rule or the television duopoly rule. To circumvent those rules, Gannett has indicated it would operate the stations under Shared Services Agreements, transferring stations in name only to a third party that would allow Gannett to continue to run them. These covert consolidation arrangements would allow Gannett to control multiple media outlets in the same market, resulting in job losses, less diversity on the airwaves and diminished competition.

“These arrangements attempt to mask the true intent and effect of the transaction: to allow Gannett to simultaneously influence and control multiple media outlets in the same local market in a way that is contrary to the public interest and otherwise prohibited by the commission’s rules.

“If approved, the transaction will lead to job losses and a considerable reduction in the quality of journalism for millions of television homes. At the very least, these proposed arrangements are contrary to the spirit of the commission’s media ownership rules, which are intended to promote diversity, competition, and localism.

“The Gannett-Belo transaction is the first that petitioners are aware of that attempts to use sharing arrangements to circumvent the NBCO rule. Because it raises novel issues, the applications must be ruled on by the full commission rather than by the Media Bureau under delegated authority. We urge that the commission promptly deny the applications or designate them for hearing. Failure to act will encourage even further consolidation to the detriment of the public and will undermine the commission’s credibility and ability to regulate in the public interest.”

BRAND CONNECTIONS

In a separate statement, Free Press President-CEO Craig Aaron said: “The FCC shouldn’t let Gannett break the rules. Media consolidation results in fewer journalists in the newsroom and fewer opinions on the airwaves. Concentrating media outlets in the hands of just a few companies benefits only the companies themselves.

“The deal would clearly violate the commission’s crossownership bans, with covert consolidation contracts working to combine newsrooms. We need the FCC to block this transaction to protect and promote local journalism.”

Gannett issued the following statement: “This transaction is entirely consistent with all FCC rules, policies and precedent, and will bring substantial benefits to the public.”


Comments (4)

Leave a Reply

Joanne McDonald says:

July 25, 2013 at 2:26 pm

My idea for trading and swapping assets with other broadcast group so the Gannett/Belo broadcasting group merger could proceed with concessions and conditions I prefer to see with 6 Belo TV stations going to other broadcasting groups with stations from other broadcasting groups going to Gannett that I would like to see them being able to own those stations without any interference and difficulties and in a few cases for both competitive and geographical reasons.

3 way swap with KTVK(regains ABC affiliation) to form a duopoly with KNXV(becomes independent), and WHAS to Scripps, KASW to form a duopoly with KPHO to Meredith, and WNEM to Gannett

KMSB/KTTU to Tribune for KDAF to form a duopoly with WFAA, KIAH to form a duopoly with KHOU, KFSM/KXNW, WTVR, and WDCW to form a duopoly with WUSA

KMOV to CBS for WTOG to form a duopoly with WSTP

From other broadcasting group mergers not related to the Gannett/Belo merger deal:

Young/Media General as Media General:

3 way swap with KRON(regains NBC affiliation) to NBC, KNTV(goes independent with KOFY getting MYNET affiliation) to Tribune, and WGHP, and WTVK/WGNT to Media General

KELO to Meredith for WFSB, and WSHM LD

KWQC to Quincy for WVVA

WBAY to Sinclair for WWHO to form a duopoly with WCMH, WTTA to form a duopoly with WFLA, and WGME

WLAJ to Journal for WFTX

Tribune/Local TV LLC as Tribune:

WHNT to LIN for KOIN to form a duopoly with KRCW

    Scott Schirmer says:

    July 25, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Please stop. This comment didn’t make sense the first 22 times you posted it.

Sean Smith says:

July 25, 2013 at 9:05 pm

James Cieloha, Mr. TV Whiz….. You can’t form WTVR and WUSA into a duopoly.. they’re not in the same market…
KMSB/KTTU are in Tuscon, WFAA is in Dallas.. can’t form a duopoly here (btw…it would be a triopoly)
There is no such TV station with the calls WSTP…..
Why would Meredith swap WFSB, one of its most profitable stations to Young for KELO, a much smaller, less-profit station?
Sinclair does not own WCMH, meaning there would be no duopoly with Sinclair’s WWHO.
“Without any interference and difficulties and in a few cases for both competitive and geographical reasons.” On its face, this comment contradicts itself.

As I see your stupid comments on station combinations, I’m beginning to think you’re some 16 year old kid with a computer and too much free time that needs to be spent in school studying.

If you’re gonna play TV, at least do your homework and find out who owns who. Otherwise, I’m gonna tell your mom and she’s gonna take your computer away for a month.
Does your mom know you spend this much time on the computer?

    Keith ONeal says:

    July 25, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    LOL, LOL, LOL for your comments!


More News