Sinclair to FCC: News-Lite St. Louis TV Station is Exception

Sinclair Broadcasting has told Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai that it shares Sen Claire McCaskill's (D-MO) frustration with the lack of "traditional local news" on its KDNL St. Louis (MO), but not with the remedy she suggested. That came in a letter from Sinclair group VP of news Scott Livingston to Chairman Pai Dec 12. In a different letter to Chairman Pai, Sen McCaskill had asked him not to let Sinclair own two of the top four stations in St. Louis if the FCC allows Sinclair to merge with Tribune, which also has a top-four station there.

"Contrary to Senator McCaskill’s assertion, Sinclair has not 'demonstrated a stunning disregard for local news,' said Livingston of Sen McCaskill's accusation. "In fact, Sinclair has demonstrated exactly the opposite, as evidenced by the more than 2,400 hours of local news, produced each week by in excess of 4,000 news employees located in 79 markets throughout the country. In other words, the lack of local news on Sinclair’s station in St. Louis is the exception, not the norm." Livingston ticked off a list of reasons that local news did not work on the station (see below), and pointed out it had run news at a "significant" loss for years "being forced to discontinue the production of local news to meet our public company fiduciary obligations to our shareholders," then teamed up with another station in the market on news before that relationship ended, then created a news talk show to provide some news in the market. He says that allowing Sinclair to own KDNL and the Tribune station would allow it to combine resources and return traditional local news to KDNL, which would not happen if it could not combine resources. He added he doubted it would happen if anyone else owned KDNL as a stand-alone.


Sinclair to FCC: News-Lite St. Louis TV Station is Exception