Sinclair agrees to pay largest FCC fine by broadcaster in history

Sinclair agrees to pay largest FCC fine by broadcaster in history
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Sinclair Broadcast Group agreed to pay a $48 million fine to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to settle three open investigations, the agency said Wednesday.

The FCC said it’s the largest fine ever paid to the federal agency in its 86-year history. 

The fine closes three FCC investigations, including Sinclair's disclosure of information related to its proposed acquisition of stations owned by Tribune Media. 

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“Sinclair’s conduct during its attempt to merge with Tribune was completely unacceptable,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement. “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.”

The FCC did not revoke Sinclair’s license, though. 

Pai said he disagreed with those who called for Sinclair's license to be revoked for “transparently political reasons.” 

“While they don’t like what they perceive to be the broadcaster’s viewpoints, the First Amendment still applies around here,” Pai said. 

Sinclair President and CEO Chris Ripley said the company is “pleased with the resolution.” 

“We thank the FCC staff for their diligence in reaching this solution. Sinclair is committed to continue to interact constructively with all of its regulators to ensure full compliance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations,” Ripley said in a statement.

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