FCC waives through TV satellite acquisitions


SBG / Sinclair Broadcast GroupRelated acquisitions involving Sinclair Television Group and Cunningham Broadcasting Corporation included flagship/satellite television operations, and the FCC made it official that those relationships may continue going forward.

Two markets are implicated in the Sinclair acquisition.

It’s getting KVII-TV Amarillo TX, and will be allowed to continue operating KVIH-TV Clovis NM as a satellite.

Also, it’s getting WPBN-TV Traverse City MI, and will be allowed to continue operating WTOM-TV Cheboygan MI as a satellite.

Traverse City also figures in the Cunningham acquisition. It’s getting WGTU-TV Traverse City and will be allowed to operate WGTQ-TV as a satellite.

Brian Cobb of CobbCorp LLC provided expert testimony backing Sinclair, and Larry Patrick of Patrick Communications did the same for Cunningham.

RBR-TVBR observation: This is definitely one tradition that should go away. These satellite stations were created for a reason – they provide quality programming to places that lack the necessary population to support such programming on their own. And we have never seen a request to carry satellite status forward after a deal turned down since we’ve been on this beat.

The fact that the flagship/satellite stations were sold does nothing to change this, and forcing the participants in such a deal to go through an automatically-triggered regulatory review is a waste of time and money.

If it was up to us, we would issue an NPRM supporting the transportability of satellite status for broadcast television unless specifically challenged by an individual or entity with standing to do so.