Sinclair gets ripped in its latest acquisition...
Sinclair finally won FCC approval for a buy in the Charleston/Birmingham's DMA but got several nasty words thrown at it from both sides....(for using Service Agreements getting around the ownership rules):
FCC commissioner Ajit Pai suggested Sinclair and the viewing public had to pay a high price for complying with the FCC's view of sharing agreements.
"Today, the FCC’s crackdown on joint sales agreements claims three more victims: two television stations in the Birmingham, Alabama market (WCFT and WJSU) and one television station in Charleston, South Carolina (WCIV)," he said. "This time, the hammer falls as part of the agency’s review of the Sinclair/Allbritton transaction. Under the parties’ original proposal and the rules that were in effect when the transaction was presented to the Commission, these three stations would have continued providing local service to their communities. But because of the Commission’s new rules, the Media Bureau’s order requires them to go dark within sixty days."
"Finally, the FCC has begun to address the schemes that Sinclair Broadcast Group and a few other group owners have used to evade the Commission’s TV ownership rules," said veteran public interest lawyer Andrew Schwartzman. "We don’t need more consolidation, and I certainly don’t relish the prospect of Sinclair’s cost-cutters taking over a network affiliate in Washington, D.C. However, the FCC took steps to stop Sinclair's blatant abuse of the ownership rules, and I hope this augers well for the future."