Statement in Response to FCC Chairman Pai Designating Sinclair-Tribune Merger for Administrative Hearing

Today, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued a statement stating he has serious concerns over the Sinclair-Tribune merger and proposed referring the transaction to an administrative hearing.

The following can be attributed to Michael Copps, Common Cause Special Advisor and Former FCC Commissioner:

“It’s positive news that Chairman Pai has expressed concerns about aspects of the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger.  We will have to see how the Administrative Law Judge handles the case and how far his inquiry will range.  And Sinclair could still restructure the terms of the deal, although maybe it is finally wearing out its welcome at the FCC.

“Public outcry has been building over Sinclair’s takeover of local television for months. Just last week, Common Cause and its allies delivered over 600,000 signatures to the FCC urging the agency to block Sinclair’s merger. The message is loud and clear: local news should reflect the concerns and interests of the communities they serve, not the will of a wealthy, powerful few. Sinclair’s merger would make it too large and too powerful.

“We hope approval delayed is approval denied. Sinclair and Tribune should follow the lead of other parties who have had their transactions designated for an administrative hearing and withdraw their applications.”