Friday, July 07, 2017

What Media Consolidation is Really All About

Why on earth do broadcasters fight so hard for deregulation when it has brought nothing but hardship to the media business over the past twenty years? This little tidbit about the Tribune/Sinclair merger reported by Robert Feder might shed some light on that...

In a filing this week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Sinclair disclosed plans for generous severance payments to top Tribune execs when they exit the company after the merger is completed. They include: Edward Lazarus, executive vice president and general counsel: $9,681,435. Chandler Bigelow, executive vice president and chief financial officer: $9,248,157, Larry Wert, president broadcast media: $7,760,566

This is what media consolidation is really all about. Thanks to rules changed by President Trump's FCC, we're about to go through this destructive period once again.

It's hard to blame the guys who line their pockets (who would turn down millions?), but when they talk about the collective good that will come of this for the company or the employees or the customer/consumers (us), feel free to turn on your BS detectors.

This is exactly what brought us to this point in our country's broken media eco-system.

A few dozen have gotten very rich. Everyone else is collatoral damage. And that damage includes a media environment that nobody trusts.

Another paragraph from Feder's column...

“Sinclair’s business model is going into a market, buying multiple stations, moving them all to one facility, and firing three quarters of the staff to get as much work with the fewest employees,” one union official told Media Matters.

“Our employees are very nervous about the situation,” said another. “It is a combination of political influence and that Sinclair is extremely anti-union in dealing with its employees. What is it going to mean?”

It's going to mean outstanding media professionals will be fired. Some of the few people left that we actually do trust in this town will be looking for work with no place to find it.

They will lose big.

As a city, we will all lose big.

Except the few people who are making millions.