[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, released the following statement today after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted along party lines to eliminate the Main Studio Rule, a decades-old FCC regulation that protects the localism of broadcasting content by requiring television stations maintain a brick-and-mortar presence in the areas they serve.
“Chairman Pai’s singular goal appears to be to ax any and all rules that may be an obstacle to Sinclair’s successful acquisition of Tribune – however contrary it may be to the public interest,” said Blumenthal. “Dismantling this key regulation opens the floodgates for a wave of content controlled by consolidated and centralized operations. American communities have witnessed the literally lifesaving value of local content during recent devastating natural disasters. Audiences nationwide stand to lose a great deal with the elimination of the Main Studio Rule.”
This is the latest in a series of decisions by the Republican majority of the FCC that pave the way for media consolidation that would cripple the diversity and independence of American broadcasting. In September, Blumenthal wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai urging him to reject the proposed acquisition of Tribune Media by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, a merger that would result in 72% of American households receiving the same local news coverage.