Commissioners Pai and O'Rielly Statement on JSA Decision
Federal Communications Commission
News Media Information: (202) 418-0500
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
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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
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
May 29, 2014
Matthew Berry, (202) 418-2005
Courtney Reinhard, (202) 418-2013
STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONERS AJIT PAI AND MICHAEL O’RIELLY ON THE
NEGATIVE IMPACT OF THE DECISION TO RESTRICT TELEVISION STATIONS’
USE OF JOINT SALES AGREEMENTS
When the Commission voted to restrict television broadcasters’ use of joint sales
agreements (JSAs), we warned that this decision would lead to “less ownership diversity” and
“more television stations going out of business.” Unfortunately, just two months later, this is
coming to pass.
Today, Sinclair Television Group announced its intent to surrender to the Commission
for cancellation three television station licenses in the Charleston, South Carolina and
Birmingham, Alabama markets. Sinclair reported that it was unable to find a viable buyer for
any of these stations. As a result, it appears that these three stations will soon be going dark.
It didn’t have to be this way. Prior to the Commission’s decision to restrict the use of
JSAs, Sinclair had a viable buyer for stations in Charleston and Birmingham: Howard Stirk
Holdings (HSH), an African-American owned broadcaster. That deal, however, fell through
because of the Commission’s decision to stop Sinclair from entering into JSAs with HSH.
So what has the Commission’s decision wrought? Instead of increasing the number of
African-American-owned television stations, we are driving stations off the air. This will mean
job losses, less service to South Carolinians and Alabamians, and less ownership diversity. We
do not see how such an outcome possibly serves the public interest, and we hope that the
Commission will take action immediately to correct its misguided restrictions on JSAs.
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