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Commissioner Pai Statement on Three TV Stations Going Dark

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Released: July 24, 2014
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NEWS

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information: (202) 418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.

Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

Washington, D. C. 20554

TTY: (888) 835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.

See MCI v. FCC, 515 F.2d 385 (D.C. Cir. 1974).

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

July 24, 2014

Matthew Berry (202) 418-2005

Email: Matthew.Berry@fcc.gov

STATEMENT OF FCC COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI

ON THREE TV STATIONS GOING DARK FOLLOWING THE

FCC’S REVIEW OF THE SINCLAIR/ALLBRITTON TRANSACTION

Today, the FCC’s crackdown on joint sales agreements claims three more victims:

two

television stations in the Birmingham, Alabama market (WCFT and WJSU) and one television

station in Charleston, South Carolina (WCIV).

This time, the hammer falls as part of the

agency’s review of the Sinclair/Allbritton transaction. Under the parties’ original proposal and

the rules that were in effect when the transaction was presented to the Commission, these three

stations would have continued providing local service to their communities.

But because of the

Commission’s new rules, the Media Bureau’s order requires them to go dark within sixty days.

How does this outcome serve the cause of diversity? And how does this outcome serve

the cause of competition?

In Charleston, South Carolina, for example, WCIV would have been

owned and operated by Howard Stirk Holdings, Inc., an African-American owned broadcast

company.

But apparently the Commission believes that it is better for that station to go out of

business than for Howard Stirk Holdings to own the station and participate in a joint sales

agreement with Sinclair.

I strongly disagree.

And so too, I’ll bet, would consumers in

Charleston.

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