Wheeler Reportedly Puts Hold on TV Transactions Involving SSAs

Posted on February 10th, 2014 by

According to numerous reports, new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has put a hold on processing pending or future applications for television station license assignments if they include shared services agreements with other stations in the same market.  The FCC has routinely approved such transactions in the past.

The move comes on the heels of his recent remarks that the FCC should more closely scrutinize transactions that include shared services or joint sales agreements.  The issue is also being considered in FCC proceedings determining whether SSAs or joint sales agreements should be attributable under existing ownership regulations.

In response to TV broadcaster claims that Wheeler’s move was designed to pressure station owners to participate in the incentive auction, Commissioner Pai expressed concern that the FCC avoid taking actions that could be seen in that light, and instead begin to provide actual cash figures to stations as part of further transparency efforts.