Tuesday, September 19, 2017

SInclair-Tribune Merger Hits a Speed Bump

From this morning's Inside Radio...

The 180-day shot clock continues ticking but Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed $3.9 billion buy of Tribune Broadcasting has hit a speed bump. The Federal Communications Commission says it needs more information about the proposed deal, which includes a handful of radio stations. The FCC demands don’t suggest an approval is in doubt, but rather that the Media Bureau is looking to solidify its reasoning with a decision likely to face legal challenges.

This is not the first snag in the regulatory review process. The Justice Department last month asked the companies for additional information as part of its antitrust review of the deal. Sinclair owns 172 broadcast TV stations as well as a trio of radio stations in Seattle including AC “Star 101.5” KPLZ-FM, all-news KOMO (1010) and “Talk Radio 570” KVI. Tribune owns 42 TV stations as well as iconic news/talk radio WGN (720) in Chicago.

The FCC is asking Sinclair to submit answers to its list of questions by Oct. 5. “If necessary, we will follow up with additional requests for information and documents,” Media Bureau Chief Michelle Carey wrote in the letter to Sinclair.The move has some critics suggesting it could push the FCC’s decision into next year.

It sounds good, but nothing will happen. The FCC is Republican-controlled and will allow this merger. Bank on it.