FCC's Clyburn says Sinclair-Bonten deal approved without her knowing

From left to right: Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Michael O'Rielly. (FCC)

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn got in a quick jab at Chairman Ajit Pai after Sinclair’s $240 million deal to buy Bonten Media’s TV stations was approved before the holiday weekend.

In a tweet, Clyburn said the approval was news to her.

“ICYMI, I did. @FCC approves Sinclair-Bonten deal without informing my office. Learned through news clips. Where's the #transparency?” Clyburn asked.

FREE DAILY NEWSLETTER

Like this story? Subscribe to FierceVideo!

The Video industry is an ever-changing world where big ideas come along daily. Cable, Media and Entertainment, Telco, and Tech companies rely on FierceVideo for the latest news, trends, and analysis on video creation and distribution, OTT delivery technologies, content licensing, and advertising strategies. Sign up today to get news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

But the FCC said the approval process was not designed to keep Clyburn or any other FCC officials in the dark.

“The FCC followed its standard procedures for approving unopposed broadcast station transfers. When Commissioner Clyburn ‎was Chairwoman, she did not inform then-Commissioner Pai when unopposed station transfer requests were approved, so her complaint rings quite hollow,” an FCC spokesperson said.

Last Friday, the FCC issued a public notice (PDF) saying it was granting the sale of 7 full-power TV stations from Bonten Media to Sinclair Television Group. In addition, the FCC granted Sinclair continued authority to operate station KCFW-TV (KCFW), Kalispell, Montana, as a satellite of KECI-TV (KECI), Missoula, Montana.

RELATED: Sinclair buys Bonten's 14 TV stations for $240M

Sinclair announced the transaction in April.

"We look forward to welcoming the Bonten employees into the Sinclair family and are pleased to be growing our regional presence in several states where we already operate," said Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley in a statement. "We believe our economies of scale help us bring improvements to small market stations, including investments in news, other quality local programming, and multicast opportunities with our emerging networks of Comet, Charge! and TBD."

For Sinclair, the Bonten deal concludes as the company is pursuing a much larger merger with Tribune Media. Sinclair is paying $3.9 billion for Tribune’s 42 TV stations and its cable networks including WGN America.

Suggested Articles

Verizon Media is adding new machine learning-enabled tools to its demand side platform (DSP) to give advertisers more clarity into ad performance across…

SAN FRANCISCO – In the middle of an uncharacteristic early June heat wave in the Bay Area, several key figures from the television industry gathered in the…

Broadcast television isn't going to die anytime soon, but it is sitting on a powder keg that threatens its existence. Platforms like Didja and Locast see…