The sale of WYTV-TV Youngstown OH from Chelsey Broadcasting to Parkin Broadcasting stipulated right up front and out in the open that the station would subsequently go into a shared services agreement (SSA) with New Vision-owned WKBN-TV. That arrangement would actually combine three networks together. WYTV carries ABC and, on a digital side channel, MNT. WKBN is the local CBS affiliate. The National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-Communications Workers of America objected to the deal for three main reasons.
(1) The deal was said to have been orchestrated by New Vision without a normal "bidding war" for the station;
(2) it will knock off an independent news voice; and
(3) the combination will result in job loss for its members.
The stations responded that "nothing in NABET's petition supports any conclusion that the contemplated arrangements are not in compliance with the Commission's rules and policies." The FCC agreed and upheld the SSA. New Vision will not provide more than 15% of WYTV's programming, but the FCC can't say which 15% it may provide. And Parkin will receive 100% of WYTV's income, reimbursing New Vision for expenses incurred along with a management fee.
SmartMedia observation: The rules are the rules. The FCC may or may not deplore the fact that New Vision produces news for WYTV, but whether it does or not, there simply is nothing it can do about that legally. As long as Parkin and New Vision remain at arms length, it would appear that NABET does not have a leg to stand on under the current regulatory framework.