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Thu May 7, 2020, 01:09 PM

Sinclair Broadcasting will pay $48 million civil penalty to FCC

New York (CNN Business) Sinclair Broadcasting will pay the largest civil penalty involving a broadcaster in the Federal Communications Commission's history.

The FCC said in a news release Wednesday that Sinclair agreed to pay $48 million, as well as "abide by a strict compliance plan in order to close three open investigations."

Those investigations include Sinclair's (SBGI) disclosure of information with regard to its ill-fated acquisition attempt of Tribune Media stations in 2018. That deal valued at $3.9 billion was scrutinized at the time by FCC commission chair Ajit Pai, and the agency formally referred the proposed acquisition to an administrative judge hearing. They also called into question whether some of Sinclair's divestments in the deal were a "sham."

Tribune Media eventually terminated its merger agreement with the conservative-leaning Sinclair, the largest owner of local television stations in the US. Had the acquisition gone through, Sinclair stations would cover a majority of the country.

On Wednesday, the FCC indicated the agreement "also closes investigations into whether the company has met its obligations to negotiate retransmission consent agreements in good faith and its failure to identify the sponsor of content it produced and supplied to both Sinclair and non-Sinclair television stations."

In the news release, the FCC said that Sinclair admitted to violating the FCC's sponsorship identification rules.

(link below to article and CNN video)


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