Media Action Center is a group of of concerned residents throughout the U.S. led by former Emmy-winning broadcaster turned media reformer Sue Wilson. We have successfully influenced policy at the Federal Communications Commission and at local TV and Radio stations throughout the country for more than a decade to ensure We the People are truly served by the publicly owned airwaves. (See the archive of our work under "older posts.") We successfully forced Entercom to give up its $13.5 million license to KDND for killing a woman in a radio water drinking stunt. We have a long-running action to label Alex Jones' radio show as the fiction it is, which has taken Jones' program off dozens of radio stations nationwide. We educated the Supreme Court in FCC v Prometheus Radio on critical information to #SaveLocalNews.

Please see MAC's 2018 Comment to the FCC (below) to learn why these actions are crucial to Democracy. Find full journalistic coverage of the Supreme Court case and our Amicus brief, Sinclair Broadcasting's shell game, Alex Jones, the Strange v Entercom trial and other public interest media issues at For background on how we arrived in this era of disinformation and what to do about it, see Wilson's 2009 documentary Broadcast Blues.

Sinclair Shell Game Exposed! Call Congress to Tell the FCC to Act!


September 1, 2020

For Immediate Release




SEC, FCC Documents Prove Sinclair Operates Shell Game

Petition to Deny Sinclair Licenses to Broadcast Filed at FCC Today


WASHINGTON DC – A legal “Petition to Deny” the broadcast licenses of Sinclair Broadcasting’s Baltimore TV station WBFF, Cunningham Broadcasting station WNUV and Deerfield Media WUTB was filed this morning with the Federal Communications Commission. 

Broadcast ownership rules say one TV company may reach just 39% of viewers in the United States, and in a single market, may apply to own two stations – if there are still eight TV "voices" in that market.  There are eight stations in Baltimore, and this petition reveals that WBFF, WNUV, and WUTB all are actually owned by Sinclair. (October 2, 2020 update: The Supreme Court granted cert to a case involving the eight voices rule.)

The petition is supported by numerous documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission which show:

              - The principals of Sinclair’s front companies have no power to control the programming, staff or operations of the television stations, which, on paper, they own and supposedly control.

- The principals of Cunningham and Deerfield are Sinclair insiders and have no stake or risk in the business. They are effectively employees who serve at the whim of Sinclair.

- Sinclair owns all or almost all of the assets of the stations, but for the licenses; guarantees or assumes all of their indebtedness; approves every transaction, expenditure and policy decision.

- All three entities use the same law firms, apparently without conflict, for their inter-company agreements and regulatory matters. 

- Sinclair owns options to purchase its shell companies’ stations/licenses for a fixed price that is a small fraction of market value, with option periods as long as 45 years.

“Sinclair told the FCC one thing and told the SEC something else, so the FCC must set this matter for a public hearing.  The rules are the rules, and if Sinclair is violating the rules by controlling more TV stations than it is legally entitled to do, the FCC must put a stop to it,” says petitioning attorney Arthur Belendiuk.


Read the entire 39 page Petition to Deny here. You may need Google Drive to see it. The link to the FCC file will be made available as soon as the FCC posts it. 


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