Sinclair Broadcast Group to pay $48 million to resolve FCC investigations

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In December 2017, the FCC approved a proposal to impose a $13 million penalty against Sinclair for violating the sponsorship identification rules. The company failed to disclose the sponsor (the Huntsman Cancer Foundation) of a paid programming broadcasted 1,700 as news coverage or as longer-form stories.

FCC Chairman says Sinclair committed an unacceptable conduct

In a statement, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai commented, “Sinclair’s conduct during its attempt to merge with Tribune was completely unacceptable. Today’s penalty, along with the failure of the Sinclair/Tribune transaction, should serve as a cautionary tale to other licensees seeking Commission approval of a transaction in the future. On the other hand, I disagree with those who, for transparently political reasons, demand that we revoke Sinclair’s licenses. While they don’t like what they perceive to be the broadcaster’s viewpoints, the First Amendment still applies around here.”

Meanwhile, Sinclair President and CEO Chris Ripley said the company is “pleased with the resolution.” He added that the company is “committed to continue to interact constructively with all of its regulators to ensure full compliance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations.”