Following closely on the heels of Sinclair Broadcast Group pulling last Friday’s edition of Nightline from their ABC stations, Josh Silver of the media reform group Free Press announced an investigation into the company’s practices, vis a vis FCC policy and the law:
We intend to investigate your actions to ensure that your stations are adhering to all of the requirements outlined by the FCC for proper stewardship of the public airwaves. We intend to make certain that Sinclair’s local marketing agreements do not violate FCC rules governing concentrated ownership. Further, we intend to encourage citizens in communities with Sinclair stations to actively challenge your stations’ commitment to localism and the public interest when license renewal hearings begin in September.
Sinclair has earned the dubious distinction of being the Clear Channel of TV not just because it owns the most stations in the country, but also because of its similarly agressive tactics, push to syndicated rather than local programming, and agitiation for even greater loosening of ownership rules.
Shedding light on the activities, proclivities and cronies of the aggressive media behemoths is an absolutely necessary component of taking back our airwaves and media. I’ve been working to make my local community more aware of who our local media masters are, and I’m glad to see more of that information come to light, in addition to more people getting interested and taking action.