Agency Should Move Forward Now To Determine Sinclair’s Fitness To Remain A Licensee
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, December 18, 2018 – The American Cable Association continues to urge the Federal Communications FCC to pursue early renewal of four Sinclair Broadcast Group television stations, noting that Sinclair’s advocacy, if adopted, would shield if from any consequences for lying to the FCC during its attempted merger with Tribune.
ACA’s arguments came in a filing Monday in response to a Sinclair opposition to ACA’s original petition for early renewal. Sinclair argued that, although the FCC found evidence that Sinclair had been untruthful with respect to four divestitures in the Sinclair-Tribune proceeding, such findings were irrelevant to Sinclair’s other licenses. As ACA pointed out, this has never been the law.
“Sinclair stands accused of lying to the FCC — conduct that, if established, automatically calls into question its qualifications to hold any FCC licenses. All parties, including Sinclair itself, should want to resolve these questions as soon as possible. The FCC should grant ACA’s Petition and institute early renewal proceedings,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.
The Sinclair-owned stations involved in ACA’s request are WJLA (ABC, Washington, D.C.), WBFF (Fox, Baltimore, Md.), WSET (ABC, Lynchburg, Va.), and WTVZ (MyTVZ, Norfolk, Va.).
In the filing, ACA explained Sinclair’s dishonesty in the Tribune proceeding will, by law, be at issue in every future transaction or license renewal by Sinclair. This, in turn, will require an administrative law judge to resolve them.
Sinclair may wish to dispose of these questions without the public scrutiny of process before and administrative law judge through some sort of private settlement with the Enforcement Bureau. ACA said there are significant questions about the legality of resolving this matter in this manner, and that in any event any attempt to do so would undercut the FCC’s institutional prerogatives.
“The issues designated by the FCC in the Sinclair-Tribune proceeding rank among the most visible accusations of wrongdoing in recent history. Ignoring them or disposing of them without input from the public would do enormous harm to the public interest and the FCC’s institutional interests,” said Polka.
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing more than 700 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, phone and video services to nearly 8 million customers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA’s members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit: https://www.americancable.org/