WASHINGTON, DC – The American Television Alliance (ATVA) applauds the FCC for proposing to fine Gray Television more than $500,000 for violating the commission’s local ownership rules.
“We agree with the FCC that Gray’s manipulation of the local ownership rules was an egregious ‘evasion’ that warrants this fine,” stated ATVA spokesperson, Jessica Kendust. “We hope that today’s action is only the beginning of a much closer look at these issues – including consideration of closing all of the otherloopholes that broadcasters use to evade the rules.”
The FCC’s local ownership rules prohibit a single entity from owning more than one of the top-four rated stations in a single market. Gray owns two full power stations (including the NBC affiliate) and one low power station in Alaska. According to the FCC, Gray purchased the assetsof the CBS Anchorage affiliate and began carrying CBS programming on its second full power affiliate. The FCC called this an “evasion” of its local ownership rules, and it was right to do so.
“Gray’s attempt to cure its violation in Anchorage by then moving the CBS programming from its full power station to the low power station and another feed on its NBC station is just another workaround broadcasters employ to exploit the system,” stated Kendust. “We urge the FCC to close these additional loopholes.”