FCC asked to reconsider Tribune decision

The Media Alliance and the United Church of Christ have asked the FCC to reconsider its decision to grant the transfer of control of Tribune’s TV assets to investor Sam Zell and shareholders.

In addition, the groups questioned the decision to renew the broadcast license of Tribune’s KTLA-TV, Los Angeles, arguing that the FCC unfairly ignored its challenges to the sale and that KTLA waiver was arbitrary and capricious, granted without a request, and without a proper showing of fact.

The move does not affect the sale to Zell, said Andrew J. Schwartzman of Media Access Project, who was one of the attorneys filing the petition. Instead, he added, it was the requisite next procedural step the groups have to take before they can take the waiver decision to court.

The groups argued that the commission improperly denied them standing in their challenges to the transfer of licenses in Hartford, CT.; Los Angeles; and Chicago. The FCC argued that the groups did not have standing to challenge because they did not provide sworn declarations from residents in the relevant markets.

The groups countered that they filed uncontested sworn declarations that they had qualified members in the markets, and that the “commission has routinely and repeatedly afforded standing to challenge multistation assignments and transfers based on a single declaration from a national organization attesting to the fact that they have members residing in the communities of license.”