Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today led a multistate group of attorneys general in filing comments with the Federal Communications Commission ( FCC ) opposing the proposed merger between the Tribune Media Company ( Tribune ) and Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. ( Sinclair ). Madigan and the other attorneys general argue the potential merger fails to further the public interest by allowing for increased consolidation that will decrease consumer choices and a diversity of voices in the media marketplace.
The Tribune/Sinclair merger would create the largest television broadcast company in the country. The merged company would own or operate over 200 stations nationwide with the ability to reach 72 percent of U.S. television households, far above the statutory 39 percent limit.
"To ensure people have access to a diverse landscape of perspectives, services and stations, the FCC should reject the proposed Tribune-Sinclair media merger," Madigan said. "People throughout Illinois depend on their local broadcast stations for diverse viewpoints and this merger threatens that long-held practice."
In addition, Madigan and the other attorneys general point out that the proposed merger inappropriately relies on an outdated method known as the UHF Discount Rule for calculating national audience reach that does not reflect the reality of today's technology, understating the audience reach of a UHF station by 50 percent.
The attorneys general argue that, at a minimum, the FCC should delay consideration of the merger until the D.C. Circuit Court completes its rule of the UHF Discount, which is underway.
Joining Madigan in filing today's comments are the attorneys general of Maryland, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
A copy of the comments can be found at the link: www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/pressroom/2017_11/FCC_MB_DocketNo17-179CommentofStateAttorneysGeneral.pdf .