Sinclair Broadcast Group, a conservative media giant, has agreed to pay a $48 million penalty to close three open FCC investigations. In its announcement, the agency says it’s the largest civil penalty involving a broadcaster it has ever imposed — it’s also twice as big as the previous record ($24 million) set by Univision back in 2007.
By agreeing to pay the penalty, Sinclair is settling the FCC’s probe into its disclosure of information regarding its proposed (and failed) merger with Tribune. If you’ll recall, the company, which already owns hundreds of TV stations, wanted to take over Tribune Media’s 42 stations in a $3.9 billion deal. The FCC raised concern about the fact that Sinclair would own way more stations than allowed even after Sinclair said it would sell some of them. In the end, Tribune was snapped up by another media giant in an even bigger deal, and it sued Sinclair for misconduct and breach of contract.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement: