Easing of broadcast ownership restrictions is expected to benefit Sinclair/Tribune deal

Federal regulators took steps Nov 17 to ease broadcast ownership restrictions, a move seen as favorable for Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed $3.9 billion takeover of Tribune Media Co. The Federal Communications Commission said the rule changes would promote ownership diversity and allow broadcasters and local newspapers to better compete in the digital age. Critics said the changes would encourage consolidation and hurt media diversity. Under one change, the commission eliminated a rule prohibiting cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations in a single market and another banning ownership of radio and television stations in a single market. The newspaper/broadcast rule dates to the pre-cable, pre-Internet world of 1975. Other changes could have a more direct impact on Hunt Valley-based Sinclair’s deal to acquire Tribune. The FCC eliminated a rule that required at least eight independently owned TV stations to be in a market before any entity may own two stations. It also allows exceptions to a ban on an entity owning two of the top four stations in a market.


Easing of broadcast ownership restrictions is expected to benefit Sinclair/Tribune deal