Diversity groupsthe National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) and the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) are asking the FCC to grant Nexstar’s waiver request so its deal to buy Media General can close without having to wait for the broadcast incentive auction to do likewise.
Since Media General indicated its participation in the auction—it was allowed by the FCC to signal, and did signal, that it was applying to be eligible—FCC action on the transfer could provide more specific information about the auction, which is potentially in violation of the FCC’s rule against public disclosures.
Nexstar and Media General sought a waiver of that Prohibited Communications Rule in hopes the deal approval would not have to wait until the end of the auction for a decision.
NABOB and MMTC point out that with the spinoffs being required as part of the transfer, the Justice Department on Sept. 2 signaled that the deal was OK on antitrust grounds, with the provision that Nexstar must first divest a handful of stations, including to minority owner Bayou City Broadcasting.
They argue that delaying the merger until the auction is over is having a significant financial impact on Bayou, an impact that could worsen if the auction “drags on.” That auction process will go at least another couple of months, and possibly longer.