Station Owners Ask The FCC To Increase National Ownership Cap to 50%





Watching tv and using remote control

Watching tv and using remote controlCurrently, local TV station owners cannot own more than 39% of TV market in the United States. Recently Sinclair is changing that in an attempt to buy Tribune but it looks like they may have some help from other station owners.

Today in a filing with the FCC Hearst Television, Scripps Media, Raycom Media, Gray Television, Graham Media, Quincy Media, Dispatch Broadcast Group and Morgan Murphy Media announced they would support the cap being raised to 50%. In exchange, these groups say they will be willing to eliminate the discount they get on UHF stations.

According to the filing, the groups say this “will bring the Cap up to date with the current marketplace and strike a reasonable balance among the competing interests in play.”

These groups are hoping that the new cap will allow them to combine not just TV but also radio and print to push back against declining revenues. “In order to facilitate the production of high-quality local journalism, the Local Broadcasters must be free to combine television, radio, print, and digital online assets in whatever fashion makes business sense to serve discrete local markets,” the groups told the commission.

Currently, the Sinclair Tribune deal would put the two companies at 70%. Sinclair has announced they would be willing to sell off stations to bring their cap down. Sinclair has even gone so far as to announce deals to sell stations to minority owners and sell some stations back to FOX. So a 50% cap would not end a Sinclair Tribue deal as Sinclair is already making moves to sell off some locals.

With that said these new rules would open the door to other media groups to buy up smaller owners and increase their market share past 39%.

Source: B&C

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