BOSTON – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today, November 2, joined with attorneys general from Illinois, Maryland and Rhode Island in filing comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opposing the proposed merger between the Tribune Media Company and Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.
The Tribune/Sinclair merger would create the largest television broadcast company in the country that would own or operate more than 200 stations nationwide with the ability to reach more than 70 percent of U.S. television households, far above the statutory limits.
In the comments, submitted today to the FCC, AG Healey joined the attorneys general to argue that the potential merger will decrease consumer choices and the diversity of voices in the media marketplace.
“This massive proposed merger will significantly impact what consumers across the country will see on television,” Healey said. “I have joined with my colleagues today to call on the FCC to oppose this merger in order to protect the public interest.”
In addition, the attorneys general point out that the proposed merger inappropriately relies on an outdated method – known as the UHF Discount – for calculating national audience reach that does not reflect the reality of today’s technology, understating the audience reach by 50 percent.
The coalition argues that, at a minimum, the FCC should delay consideration of the merger until the D.C. Circuit Court completes its consideration of a legal challenge to the FCC’s use of the UHF Discount, which is underway.