When you turn on the nightly news, you expect to find competing viewpoints and different perspectives from one station to the next. But in communities across the country, stations that were once fierce competitors have cut staff and merged their newsrooms, in many cases airing the same content on multiple stations in the same market. You can try to change the channel, but all you'll see is the exact same newscast.
This kind of covert consolidation isn’t supposed to happen. But media companies have exploited loopholes in the Federal Communications Commission’s ownership rules. Many broadcasters claim that as long as a company’s name isn’t on a broadcast license, it can control everything from news programming to office operations without being considered an “owner.”But these deals, called “Shared Service Agreements,” look and act just like any other media merger.
Covert consolidation is at work in at least 83 of the nation’s 210 television markets. Free Press’ interactive map above documents the spread of covert consolidation across the country. Our Change the Channels campaign seeks to close the FCC’s loopholes and foster true competition in local media markets.
To take part in this campaign, you can join with others in your community to demand change at the local level. Help uncover these dirty deals; submit video and information to our national database; and take action to pressure local broadcasters. Together we’ll build a case against covert consolidation that the FCC won’t be able to ignore.