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US: Newsmax meets with Pai over Sinclair merger

 |  October 2, 2017

Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy met with Federal Comunications Commission (FCC) chair Ajit Pai last week to urge the FCC not to rush a decision on the US$3.9 billion merger of Sinclair Broadcasting and Tribune Media, saying to do so gave the impression of impropriety. Ruddy has expressed numerous concerns about that deal and his conservative news network is on the record in opposition to the deal.

Ruddy suggested the FCC was rushing a decision before the ownership cap was thoroughly vetted, according to an ex parte filing on the meeting obtained by B&C. Pai and fellow Republican Michael O’Rielly voted to reinstate the UHF discount, which helps Sinclair, saying that the FCC would consider it again as part of a broader look at the 39% ownership cap.

Ruddy told Pai it appeared that Sinclair and Tribune had foreknowledge of the UHF discount decision and challenged Pai’s suggestion the 39% cap is less relevant because of technology. He also said the broadcast market is not competitive because of the limits on spectrum and significant barriers to entry, among other things.

Pai has told concerned congressional Democrats that the deal-vetting was on a similar timetable as other mergers and that there was nothing untoward about the review or FCC staffers’ contacts with Sinclair.

Full Content: FTV Live

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