Sinclair Smackdown

According to Broadcasting and Cable, the FCC is expected to reject a request by Sinclair Broadcast Group — the Clear Channel of TV — to purchase five stations in markets where the company already operates a TV station. Sinclair is seeking an exception to the duopoly rule that disallows owning more than one TV station in most markets.

Apparently Powell and his fellow commissioner are all cooperating on this one, and trying to make the decision airtight enough to head off any appeals that Sinclair might try to file.

The duopoly rule still stands, since its loosened replacement was struck down by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. However, most of the markets where Sinclair’s trying to buy stations — Dayton, Ohio; Charleston, W.Va.; Charleston, S.C.; Columbus, Ohio; and Baltimore, MD — are still too small to allow a duopoly under the loosened rules.

Nevertheless, it’s nice to see the FCC hold the line against Sinclair’s voracious appetite for digesting stations and spitting out the public interest.