The PTC responds to the FCC’s unanimous vote to adopt a hearing designation order for the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger.
“We applaud the bold and positive statement of a unanimous FCC to adopt a hearing designation order for this transaction. As we have stated from the outset of the FCC’s review, our opposition to the merger has absolutely nothing to do with a partisan political angle. Quite the contrary, the PTC believes that there is an urgent need for greater political balance; but the transaction proposed by Sinclair would have put in place a media ownership structure that would achieve quite the opposite. Greater local ownership and control of local community broadcast outlets leads to increased public accountability,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
“To us, Sinclair’s most recent formal filing of July 5th demonstrates exactly why the FCC reached its correct conclusion. In that filing, Sinclair began its argument by arrogantly dismissing merger objections ‘as if it took place in a time when there were seven TV channels.’ Ironically, in almost every DMA where a broadcast license would have changed hands under this transaction, there are actually FEWER than seven broadcast TV channels, especially if applying Sinclair’s own mathematical calculation where a UHF station is counted as only half of a broadcaster.
“Sinclair indignantly based its argument on a corporate need to compete with Google, Facebook, YouTube and Netflix, none of which broadcasts locally, none of which owns or produces local community programming, and none of which operates under a public interest obligation to abide by community standards. Sinclair also cited AT&T merging with Time Warner; and Disney purchasing Twentieth Century Fox’s TV, film studio and cable assets, as a reason why its merger should be agreed to by the FCC. But again, not a single local broadcast license changes hands as a result of either of those two deals.
“If Sinclair wants to compete with the aforementioned media behemoths, then good; we urge them to do so and we hope they’re successful. But that means buying or creating streaming media platforms, social media platforms, websites, motion picture studios, TV studios, and cable networks. It doesn’t mean consolidating local community voices into one, big, corporate behemoth.”