The Federal Communications Commission announced in a press release that Sinclair Broadcast Group will pay $9,495,000 to resolve a number of Media Bureau investigations, including the bureau’s investigation of allegations that Sinclair violated its obligation to negotiate for retransmission consent in good faith.
The Commission used the statement to underline that its retransmission consent rules (as mandated by Congress) forbid a broadcaster to negotiate jointly for one of its stations and for another station in the same market that it does not control.
“In its investigation, the Media Bureau found that, over the course of seven months, Sinclair negotiated retransmission consent on behalf of dozens stations that it did not control at the same time that it was negotiating for its own stations in the same markets,” the Commission reports.
“As Chairman Wheeler made clear just this month, the Commission will not hesitate to take enforcement action where broadcasters or pay TV providers violate their good faith obligations,” Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake, says. “Today’s action demonstrates our strong commitment to vigilantly enforce our retransmission consent rules when necessary.”
In addition to agreeing to pay the fine, Sinclair says it will implement a compliance plan aimed at ensuring no similar violations in the future according to the FCC statement. The action is reportedly the first of its kind to enforce the Commission’s long-standing retransmission consent rules.
The settlement also resolves a number of other issues that had been pending for Sinclair-owned stations, and the Bureau has agreed to grant all pending Sinclair renewal applications as part of the settlement terms.
Filed Under: Industry regulations