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Commissioners Pai and O'Rielly Statement on JSA Decision

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Released: May 29, 2014
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NEWS

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information: (202) 418-0500

445 12th Street, SW

Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

Washington, DC 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

NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:

May 29, 2014

Matthew Berry, (202) 418-2005

Email: matthew.berry@fcc.gov

Courtney Reinhard, (202) 418-2013

Email: courtney.reinhard@fcc.gov

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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