Saturday, October 1, 2022

FCC Wants Tenga-Standard General Docs On Staffing

The Federal Communications Commission has asked Tegna and Standard General for yet more documents, with a particular focus on any potential layoffs or impact on retransmission-consent negotiations related to their proposed merger, in the process suggesting the commission won’t decide whether or not to allow the companies to merge until late October at the earliest, reports

Tegna, which owns 64 TV stations in 51 U.S. markets, agreed to be acquired by Standard General back in February for $8.6 billion including debt. It also owns multicast networks True Crime Network, Twist and Quest, as well as advanced advertising company Premion.

In June, the FCC asked for more info from the companies on that deal following pushback from critics who said it would lead to layoffs. This week, the agency’s Media Bureau followed up with a letter seeking even more, giving the companies until October 13 to respond, or alternately, until another date the Media Bureau will agree to.

The NewsGuild-CWA, which formally opposed the merger in a petition to deny, earlier this week told the FCC in meetings that the commission needed to collect more info on potential staffing issues.

The FCC will then have to vet that new information, so, as the bureau put it, it can “review the applications and make the necessary public-interest finding.” The commission looks beyond competition issues to determine whether a merger of broadcast license holders serves the public interest.

Among the documents the FCC wants are “all analyses and documents relating to projected future capital expenditures, personnel headcounts and programming plans for each of the broadcast stations included in the Applications,” as well as a description of “how a Washington, D.C. newsroom will be integrated with local stations and the extent of local station editorial control over resulting news coverage; provide all documents relating to any such proposed integration,” and “all documents concerning any actual or potential consolidation of news operations or services, including impacts on personnel headcounts.”

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