Broadcasting & Cable: Proposed Apollo TV Station Purchases Face Tough Opposition Common Cause files petition to deny; ATVA has big problems
Common Cause on Monday (May 13) filed a petition to deny the deals at the FCC, saying that the 25 TV stations Apollo would own meant putting a lot of broadcast ownership in a private equity firm, something Common Cause's special adviser, former FCC chairman Michael Copps, says has historically not been a public benefit.
"History has shown that the quality of our news and information has significantly diminished under private equity control. These firms typically implement cost cutting strategies that bleed newspapers dry, leading to reporter layoffs and consolidated newsrooms," said Copps. "The profits generated from cutting costs are not invested into improving the news but rather to pay off loans and manage debt. Apollo’s entry into the broadcast market invites serious skepticism that it would benefit localism and viewpoint diversity instead of following the traditional model of laying off reporters and consolidating newsrooms."
The petition identified a number of speculative harms, saying that if private equity firms' past was prologue, "Apollo would likely layoff reporters, consolidate newsrooms, and homogenize programming in order to maximize its profits."