Pai’s recent discovery of Sinclair’s habit of “selling” stations to owners who then simply turn that facilities back to Sinclair to operate and his designation of the shady practice as potentially illegal sent blood pressures soaring at Sinclair HQ.
They’re just shocked.
“Sinclair was shocked and disappointed today by the news that FCC Chairman Pai was circulating an order proposing to designate our acquisition of Tribune for an administrative hearing. Although the actual Hearing Designation Order (HDO) has not yet been released, press reports indicate that a leaked version of the HDO suggests that Sinclair may have engaged in misrepresentation or lack of candor. To the extent that the HDO does in fact include any such allegations, we deny such allegations in the strongest possible manner,” Sinclair said.
In its lengthy rebuttal, Sinclair insisted it had always been forthright with the Commission and that the practices Pai now find sketchy are practices that Sinclair had commonly employed in the past.
Which, of course, is the whole damned problem.
But in the end, Sinclair hopes a nice sit-down with the FCC will make it better again.
“While we understand that certain parties which oppose the transaction object to certain of the buyers based on such buyers’ relationships with Sinclair, a situation we are prepared to address if the FCC agrees with such views, at no time have we misled the FCC in any manner whatsoever with respect to the relationships or the structure of those relationships proposed as part of the Tribune acquisition. Any suggestion to the contrary is unfounded and without factual basis.
“We are prepared to resolve any perceived issues and look forward to finalizing our acquisition of Tribune Media,” the statement read. “The proposed merger of Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media will create numerous public interest benefits and help move the broadcast industry forward at a time when it is facing unprecedented challenges. We look forward to working with regulators to make the merger a reality.”
Saving local television. It’s what’s best for us.