Standard General Tegna at the FCC: Process or Prejudice?


Standard General-Tegna at the FCC: Process or Prejudice?

May 23, 2023

The featured image for a post titled "Standard General-Tegna at the FCC: Process or Prejudice?"

This piece was first published in Next TV.

Standard General’s acquisition of some 60 broadcast stations from Tegna would create the nation’s largest minority-owned and woman-led broadcast company in U.S. history and enshrine historic jobs commitments and a neutrality agreement for all Tegna unions. In addition to an $8.6 billion investment in local media, the transaction supports Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Biden administration diversity goals. The transaction passed review unchallenged by the Department of Justice. However, it has been sidelined by the chair of the FCC, which controls the transfer of broadcast licenses. The deal has languished for more than 400 days, a record for the FCC which normally processes such rule-compliant TV license transfers in 182 days.

In March the FCC’s Media Bureau, with the support of chair Jessica Rosenworcel, referred the transaction to the Media Bureau’s administrative law judge on the issues of station staffing levels and retransmission fees for pay TV providers. This was unusual and something which has never happened for such a simple transaction. Moreover, the parties have already resolved these issues with agreements to maintain current station news staffing levels for at least three years following closing and the waiving of all contract rights that might have increased retransmission fees for pay TV providers from the transaction. Furthermore, these two issues — station staffing levels and retransmission fees for pay TV providers — are statutorily outside the FCC’s authority, a fact which the full commission itself has noted in every prior TV transaction in which these arguments have been raised.

Continue reading in Next TV.

Explore More Policy Areas

InnovationGovernanceNational SecurityEducation
Show All

Stay in the loop

Get occasional updates about our upcoming events, announcements, and publications.