FCC rule change could impact Seattle TV stations

FILE — Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, at the federal agency’s headquarters in Washington, June 23, 2017. The Federal Communications Commission has voted to eliminate restrictions known as the media cross-ownership ban, and to increase the number of TV stations a company could own in a local market. (Eric Thayer/The New York Times)


The Washington Post

November 17, 2017

Federal regulators rolled back a series of decades-old regulations on Thursday, in a move that will make it far easier for media outlets to be bought and sold — potentially leading to more newspapers, radio stations and television broadcasters being owned by a small handful of companies.

The regulations, eliminated in a 3-2 vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), were initially put in place in the 1970s to ensure that a diversity of voices and opinions could be heard on the air or in print. But now those rules represent a threat to small outlets that are struggling to survive in a vastly different media world, according to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

A major beneficiary of the deregulatory moves, analysts say, is Sinclair, the conservative broadcasting company seeking to buy up Tribune Media for $3.9 billion. In Seattle, Sinclair would wind up owning KOMO 4 and KCPQ 13, two of the top four local TV stations, if it isn’t required to shed one to complete the acquisition.

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