Apollo-Cox-Northwest Merger Draws Skepticism from Common Cause

If approved, Apollo would own 25 TV stations, which Common Cause worries will hurt localism.
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WASHINGTON—Common Cause officially filed a petition on Friday, May 10, to the FCC asking the commission to reject the proposed merger of Apollo Global Management, Cox Enterprises Inc. and Northwest Broadcasting Inc. Common Cause believes that the proposed merger would severely impact local TV coverage, particularly in an area like Dayton, Ohio.

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If accepted, the merger would result in Apollo owning 25 TV stations. In a statement from former FCC commissioner, now Common Cause special adviser Michael Copps, he says that past merger history often shows that the quality of news and information can be diminished under private equity control.

In his statement, Copps specifically points out to the impact that could be had in Dayton, where Cox owns the largest TV station, four radio stations and the Dayton Daily News in the area, all of which would be included in the merger.

“The high level of consolidation in Dayton has already led to reporter layoffs and less robust coverage of local news,” reads Copps statement. “People in the Dayton community say they know more about what is going on in other parts of Ohio than they do in their own town. Apollo’s merger won’t do anything to improve the state of local news in Dayton but will likely make it much worse.

“Allowing a private equity firm to control a significant amount of television stations at a time when the broadcast marketplace is already highly consolidated undermines our values of localism, viewpoint diversity and more media ownership by women and people of color. The FCC should block this merger and uphold a framework that gives communities robust sources of local news and information.”

The full petition can be read here.