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Media Action Center Files Amicus Brief at the Supreme Court in FCC v Prometheus Case

This Friend of the Court brief was filed December 23, 2020 on behalf of Sue Wilson and Media Action Center in the upcoming Supreme Court case FCC v Prometheus.

The Federal Communications Commission is trying to get blanket approval to allow one major TV station group (think Sinclair) to license two network TV stations in the same town. The regulatory agency (the FCC) say that means local towns will get better news coverage. However, a MAC survey finds that in markets where the FCC has already allowed such "duopolies," (against the order of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals,) the station groups are not reporting additional news content in local towns. They are merely reporting one set of stories and then running that same set on two Network TV stations, and sometimes a third non-network station. Remember, when one big company controls two or even three local TV stations, it means women, minorities, really anyone except the existing deep pocket players can not have even one station. 

Our goal is to educate the Supreme Court Justices that this is happening right now in local TV, so they can determine whether the FCC is making the proper decision, and more importantly, whether the FCC should be allowed to make such decisions at all.

Scroll down this page for our survey results. 

See the brief here:   

Media Action Center Amicus Brief to the US Supreme Court

Photographic Evidence that TV Station Groups are sharing news content on multiple stations:





Top Broadcasters Controlling Two Local Network Affiliate Stations in Same Local Market

 December 19, 2020


MAC Survey of Local Market News Content

As we consider whether the FCC should change the rules concerning how many local TV stations one company may license in one community, Media Action Center wanted to know how many local markets (Designated Market Areas or “DMAs”) already have one station group owning more than one Top Four (network affiliate) station. If so, in which markets, what size of markets, the minority population of those markets, and whether those stations offer the same or different local news on their two separate network affiliates.

Media Action Center researched this question to demonstrate that local news operations often result very similar, if not identical, news coverage on multiple TV stations in a single local market. These combinations are not adding anything to local news coverage in these communities.



Media Action Center volunteers researched the top ten largest TV Station groups in the country as defined by total revenue to provide such data. The data we produced is subject to some interpretation, but at least provides a snapshot for consideration. Volunteers reviewed websites, copyright information and local news reports to identify patterns. The Data Tables for every station group are provided below with hyperlinks for easy access for readers to independently review the findings. This research is not peer reviewed but does offer baseline information to illustrate the current state of local news in the communities studied.



GRAY TV                                                                                                                        https://drive.google.com/file/d/1snw-ROVs0x_CaJwJ5HmAqAdasgXhgInQ

SCRIPPS                                                                                                                                     https://drive.google.com/file/d/1k7kNDzjN3OGzm69zQsuZEGXTBMpG_VkI