As Expected, FCC OK’s Nexstar/Tribune Merger


Thirteen months ago, the discussion among media executives and around the FCC was whether Tribune Media would be successfully merged with Sinclair Broadcast Group.

What a difference a year makes. Tribune Media is now on track to become fully integrated into Nexstar Media Group, making it the largest owner of broadcast TV stations in the U.S.

That’s because the Commission on Monday (9/16), as has been anticipated for days, approved the sale of Tribune Media’s broadcast TV stations to Nexstar.

As part of the approval, the FCC gave its affirmative nod to the divestiture to The E.W. Scripps Co., TEGNA and CCB — a minority-led company — broadcast TV stations Nexstar needed to give up to remain compliant with the Commission’s current local ownership rules.

Specifically, the FCC determined that the transfer of preexisting duopolies in the Indianapolis and Norfolk markets to Nexstar and Scripps, respectively, would be in the public interest.

In a brief statement, the FCC said the proposed merger would provide “several public interest benefits to viewers of current Tribune and Nexstar stations.”

For example, it noted, “viewers would benefit from their local stations having increased access to Nexstar’s Washington, D.C., news bureau and state news bureaus.”

Additionally, the Commission said, Nexstar demonstrated that it would invest savings resulting from the merger into its stations, including investments in ATSC 3.0, the next-generation television broadcast standard.

An Order detailing the Commission’s reasoning can be found here.