CHICAGO — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in an effort to stop the proposed merger of the Tribune Media Company and Sinclair Broadcasting Group Inc., which she alleges will limit consumer choice and diversity.
In the recently filed petition, Madigan, along with Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, told the FTC that the proposed merger, regardless of its most recent amendments, will allow the merged company to operate more than 200 stations throughout the country and reach nearly 60 percent of U.S. TV households. The attorneys general say this is well above the 39 percent limit according to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004.
“The massive Tribune-Sinclair merger contradicts the FCC’s principles of diversity, localism and competition that ensure consumer choice in the marketplace,” Madigan said in a statement. “I urge the FCC to deny the Tribune-Sinclair merger because it will result in the loss of diverse viewpoints on national and local television broadcasts."
Madigan and Miller also argue the merger is based on an outdated method known as "the UHF Discount Rule for calculating national audience reach" which does not take into account current technology and minimizes audience reach.
The FCC is expected to make a ruling on the merger in the next several weeks, according to the Illinois Attorney General's Office.