The Tribune has two sad stories this evening.
First, the FCC has taken steps to end the main-studio rule—apparently to allow the Sinclair/Tribune deal to go through:
The regulation, which was first adopted almost 80 years ago, requires broadcasters to have a physical studio in or near the areas where they have a license to transmit TV or radio signals. Known as the "main studio rule," the regulation ensured that residents of a community could have a say in their local broadcast station's operations.
"At a time when broadcast conglomerates like Sinclair are gobbling up more stations," the consumer advocacy group Free Press said in a regulatory filing on the matter in July, "the Commission's proposal would allow these conglomerates to move even more resources away from struggling communities and further centralize broadcasting facilities and staff in wealthier metropolitan areas."
Sinclair, the right-wing broadcaster, is currently trying to buy up Tribune Media in a $3.9 billion deal. The consolidation of the media industry has become a political flashpoint amid wider concerns about fake news and the polarization of news consumption. Even some conservatives have opposed the merger, on the grounds that it could limit the number of voices on the airwaves.
Meanwhile, with Whirlpool and Sears ending a century-old relationship, event the blind can see Sears is nearly dead:
Sears contends Whirlpool sought to “use its dominant position in the marketplace,” which would have “prohibited” the retailer from selling the appliances at a reasonable price, according to a memo addressed to Sears employees and sent to me by the company.
In response, Whirlpool CEO Marc Bitzer told investors on a conference call Tuesday that losing Sears is no biggie —only 3 percent of its global revenue.
“The entire Sears business declined over time,” he asserted.
It's 1895 all over again. Or 1885. I hope the latter, because then we only have to wait 20 years for the trusts to get busted.