Sinclair Made Last Second Pitch to Save the Tribune Deal


The FCC basically said that Sinclair lied and fibbed in their application to acquire the Tribune stations. 

Sinclair says that the FCC called them a liar too late in the game. 

B&C says that FCC chair Ajit Pai phoned Sinclair EVP and general counsel Barry Faber midweek (July 18) to let the company know that just withdrawing the three TV station sale applications that appeared to be sweetheart deals was not going to head off an administrative hearing on the proposed Tribune merger, with which the FCC had big problems.

Sinclair tried to get the chairman to delay that hearing, according to a letter to Pai from Faber filed with the FCC, but the hearing designation order passed unanimously last week and a hearing looks certain unless Sinclair does decide to pull the plug on the deal.

Pai had said in announcing his hearing proposal that it stemmed from allegations by various deal critics that Sinclair was trying to skirt FCC rules and that there were serious questions about whether the company had been truthful with the commission, with the hearing order using language like "misrepresentation" and "lack of candor."

Those, if true, could also raise the specter of license challenges to existing Sinclair stations based on character issues--licensees can't lie to the FCC.

In other words, Sinclair could end of losing stations that they already own and run in "sidecar" deals. Which is something FTVLive brought up 4 days ago.  

In a letter to the FCC, Faber wrote, "At no time has anyone at the FCC ever raised any concerns that Sinclair was being less than candid with the FCC or asked us to provide any back-up or further information to explain the financial aspects of the sales of the Dallas, Houston or Chicago stations."

In other words, why did the FCC wait so long to call Sinclair a liar? 

Or, as critics might point out, why wasn't Sinclair candid about their sweetheart sidecar deals in the first place. 

It is clear from the letters back and forth from the FCC and Sinclair that Sinclair was trying to save the deal in the last minute. 

It didn't work.