Through Republican and Democratic administrations, rules restricting media concentration have remained on the books, emboldened by warnings that local communities and public opinion benefit from a variety of news sources.
But the Federal Communications Commission under Donald Trump is poised to eliminate regulations that critics warn will accelerate an already high tempo of mergers and acquisitions among TV station owners. Top of mind for both parties and their lobbyists is Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.'s SBGI proposed $6.6 billion acquisition of Tribune Media Co. (TRCO) - Get Report , a deal that would combine the largest- and sixth-largest TV station owners in the country and create a giant reaching 72% of U.S. households.
On Thursday, Nov. 16, in Washington, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is expected to use the Republicans' majority control of the commission to approve rules changes that will allow for a single entity to own a newspaper and broadcast station in the same market. The FCC also appears likely to lift a restriction that forbids a company from owning more than two TV stations and one radio station in a single market, although exceptions have been made in very large markets.
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