The nation's biggest owner of TV stations has told the
The stations are WCIV-TV Charleston, S.C., and WCFT-TV Tuscaloosa and WJSU-TV Anniston, both in Alabama. They were acquired by Sinclair when it purchased
Sinclair already owns TV stations in and around those markets, and FCC rules limit the number of TV stations a broadcaster can own in a given market. In the past, the FCC allowed broadcasters to create partnerships where another company would run the stations for them. Sinclair had a partner lined up to operate these stations.
But earlier this year, the FCC tightened up the rules regarding so-called joint sales agreements. As a result of the changes, Sinclair had to find a buyer for the stations. The company said it retained an investment bank and shopped the properties but to no avail.
Two FCC commissioners who were against the changes make to the rules expressed concern about Sinclair's actions.
"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," said Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly in a joint statement.
The two commissioners noted that Sinclair's proposed partner to operate the stations was minority owned.