Is Sinclair qualified to own WJLA (Washington)?
That's the question that people are not only asking inside the station, but outside as well.
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition wants the the FCC to reject Sinclair Broadcast Group’s effort to buy WJLA.
The petitioned the FCC, asking the agency to hold a hearing on whether Sinclair — which has proposed to buy all seven of Allbritton’s ABC affiliates, including the company’s flagship WJLA, for $985 million — is basically qualified to be an agency licensee.
They want the FCC to investigate in particular Sinclair’s long-time relationship with Cunningham Broadcasting — and into various Sinclair relationships with other companies — to determine whether Sinclair is using those arrangements to evade local FCC ownership restrictions that generally bar broadcasters from owning more than two TV stations in the same market.
“This case has great importance, involving as it does, the basic qualification of America’s largest television broadcaster, and the uses and potential abuses of ownership structures — LMAs (local marketing agreements), JSAs (joint sales agreements) and SSAs (shared services agreements) — that have long vexed the commission and its staff,” said the petition.
Rainbow PUSH, a nonprofit civil rights advocacy group, is represented in Washington by attorney David Honig.
A Sinclair spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.