The National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians - Communications Workers of America have joined with Common Cause, Free Press, and the Office of Communication, Inc. of the United Church of Christ in a lawsuit to stop the FCC from repealing local media ownership limits. The petition for review explains that the FCC has failed to consider the impact of its changes to rules affecting localism, diversity, and competition in broadcast ownership.
In particular, the organizations highlight recent FCC decisions to relax cross-ownership and local television limits, as well as the FCC’s decisions not to properly account for stations' use of Joint Sales Agreements and Shared Services Agreements (JSAs and SSAs) to evade ownership limits.
The filing comes as the FCC is weighing the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed takeover of Tribune Media. The $3.9 billion deal would result in significant media consolidation, creating a broadcasting behemoth, reducing viewpoint diversity, and killing jobs. The merger would give Sinclair an audience reach far in excess of congressional and FCC limits on national and local media ownership.
Free Press Sues the FCC for Dramatic Reversal of Media-Ownership Limits That Pave Way for Media Mergers (Free Press, Mar. 9, 2018)
NABET-CWA joins broad coalition to stop Sinclair-Tribune merger (Speed Matters, Nov. 9, 2018)