A group called the Coalition to Save Local Media formed specifically to oppose the Sinclair Broadcast Group's proposed purchase of Tribune Media for $3.9 billion. The Coalition contends the merger would hurt consumers by increasing prices while at the same time decreasing choices for local content.
Shop Talk panelist Rich Egger said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has also come out against the proposed merger. In a news release, Madigan said, “People throughout Illinois depend on their local broadcast stations for diverse viewpoints and this merger threatens that long-held practice.”
Sinclair is already the nation’s largest broadcaster, and Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton said the merger would put its stations in 72% of the nation’s households. She is worried about the power that would give Sinclair to set ad rates.
Crighton is also concerned about the influence the corporation’s upper management might exert over local newsrooms and whether those newsrooms might feel pressure to report on stories from the conservative perspective promoted by the company.
Panelist Will Buss is also concerned about the company’s political activism.
And Buss said while he understands Sinclair’s desire to strengthen profits, he fears consumers will end up paying the price if the merger goes through, especially if Sinclair uses its influence to charge cable and satellite providers more money to carry its content.
Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.