AAAJ, Herndon-Reston Indivisible, Leased Access Programmers Association, NABET-CWA, Parents Television Council, UCC Bring Coalition to 21 Members
Today, the Coalition to Save Local Media is announcing six new members: Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Indivisible- Herndon and Reston, Leased Access Programmers Association, National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians—Communications Workers of America, Parents Television Council, and United Church of Christ. These diverse groups, along with the fifteen founding Coalition members, are joining forces to stop the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger.
“In our growing digital world, it is critical that the public have access to media that serves each community,” said John C. Yang, President and Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice. “There is already a significant lack of media, including in-language television programming, directed toward Asian American and other diverse communities. The Sinclair-Tribune merger would silence diverse perspectives and harm communities all over the country who heavily rely on local programming and the freedom to choose the media they consume. We are proud to join this important coalition to make our voices louder to urge Congress to stop this merger.”
“Indivisible is a grass roots coalition formed to encourage citizen participation in issues of local and national concern,” said Howard Weiss, veteran broadcast lawyer and member of Indivisible. “We believe the FCC should uphold the principle of serving the public interest and defend those Americans who depend primarily on broadcast television for their news by ensuring localism in broadcast news, social commentary and political advertising in exchange for the use of public airwaves by broadcasters. The proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger is anti-competitive in permitting the acquisition of stations serving more than 70% of viewers around the country and will severely undermine the diversity of ownership and programing in America’s largest broadcast markets.”
“Leased Access Programmers Association strives to insure local cable operators live up to what Congress envisioned when creating leased access, requiring a percentage of channels on cable sites be ‘set aside’ for use by programmers unaffiliated with the cable ownership, thereby creating a local ‘cable-captive’ TV opportunity for news and information focused on the local community,” said Charlie Stogner, President of the Leased Access Programmers Association. “Consolidation is losing the heart of media by losing local a voice. It’s a threat to the future to the local news and information. Sinclair and I are kindred spirits in Conservatism but buying up companies and losing the local voices hurts rural voices.”
“The National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians—Communications Workers of America represents more than 10,000 employees across the broadcast industry,” said Charlie Braico, President of NABET-CWA. “The proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger would result in job cuts at dozens of stations across the country and would harm the ability of local stations to broadcast information vital to their communities in a responsible and unbiased manner. This merger is not in the interest of broadcast industry employees and is not in the interest of the American people.”
“When local broadcasters are owned by corporate behemoths that are based hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away, the inevitable result is that local, community standards aren’t just ignored, they’re obliterated. For fifteen years, the Parents Television Council has correlated an increase in graphic, explicit, violent and profane television content with an increase in the consolidation of media ownership. Even worse, we have documented an increase in harmful, explicit content being rated by conglomerate-owned distributors as appropriate for children to watch. The newfound competitors to broadcasters – the social media platforms, over-the-top providers, streaming services and internet sites – are only increasing the volume and degree of explicit content; hence the ever-more-critical need for independent, local distributors whose programming must serve the public interest,” said Parents Television Council President Tim Winter.
“The United Church of Christ’s media justice ministry has been working for an inclusive and accountable media for more than 50 years,” said Cheryl Leanza, Policy Advisor at UCC OC Inc. “Whether it was challenging local TV stations that offered soap operas instead of educational content to Spanish-speaking children, or helping to create and foster local community radio, the UCC knows we need media that reflects and serves their local communities. The broad swath of organizations opposing this new proposed Sinclair merger demonstrates that people do not need to agree on policy to agree that a vibrantly competitive local media market place is essential for our society.”
The Coalition to Save Local Media came together to stop the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger. The Coalition is nonpartisan and includes members on both sides of the aisle. Notably, the Coalition includes members that have previously been on opposite sides of regulatory fights. The Coalition to Save Local Media will continue to call for this mega-merger to be further scrutinized by the FCC, Department of Justice, and other parties and ultimately be denied.