The United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry celebrated this afternoon when the Federal Communications Commission issued an order that almost certainly will block a major transaction that would have produced significant media consolidation. UCC Media Justice jointly filed against the transaction with Common Cause and also with Communications Workers of America.
Cheryl A. Leanza, policy advisor to UCC Media Justice said:
Congratulations to the Federal Communications Commission and Chair Rosenworcel for giving the merger review process the serious and thorough consideration it deserves. For millions of people around the country, local issues are first and foremost and local broadcasting is critical in times of crisis: national outlets do not meet these needs. When owners acquire hundreds of stations with plans to centralize news production, local communities are harmed. Furthermore, since the United Church of Christ first established standing for members of the public to participate in FCC proceedings almost 50 years ago, we are pleased the Media Bureau recognized the validity of our participation in this docket.
Standard General planned to acquire Tegna, which owns 60+ television stations in 50+ markets and Apollo Global Management, owner of Cox Media Group, would have obtained four stations and also supplied financing to the Standard General acquisition. The FCC determined it did not have sufficient evidence that the merger could be approved, designating two issues for further proceedings: (1) whether the merger would inappropriately increase cable prices and (2) whether local content and news programming would be jeopardized.
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