Lawsuit Alleges Broadcast Company Trying to Sabotage Black-Owned TV Stations
Nexstar Broadcasting is being sued by the Marshall Broadcasting Group (MBG). In 2014, Nexstar sold three stations local TV stations to MBG -- they were forced to sell the stations due to FCC regulations and chose MBG as a buyer, believing that the FCC would look favorably upon MBG's status as a minority-owned business. However, MBG alleges that while the FCC was led to believe that the sale would further the commission's objective of increasing ethnic diversity in the ownership of broadcast stations -- Nexstar tried to sabotage MBG’s operations after the sell to decrease its worth. Currently, only 12 out of 1,400 full-power, commercial TV stations are Black-owned -- that’s less than 1%. Since MBG owns 3 of the 12 stations, they say Nexstar's efforts to push MBG out of business would remove 25% of the Black-owned stations on the air today. During negotiations, the FCC expressed concerns that the transaction would leave Nexstar with too much influence over the MBG assets. As such the deal was only approved after Nexstar stated that "MBG shall maintain full control, supervision and direction of" the stations, including the stations' "management, programming, finances, editorial policies, personnel, facilities and compliance with the FCC Rules and Regulations." But MBG alleges that Nexstar has done the opposite. The lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court of New York. More here.