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FCC Regulators Vote to Ease a Limit on TV Station Ownership

  • Change gives room to grow to Sinclair, Nexstar, CBS, Comcast
  • Agency reinstates practice rooted in old-fashioned UHF signals
Satellite dishes stand outside the headquarters of Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. in Hunt Valley, Maryland, on March 15, 2010.
Photographer: Jonathan Hanson/Bloomberg
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Regulators voted to ease a limit on TV-station ownership, a step that could open a door to mergers such as Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.’s bid for Tribune Media Co.

The Federal Communications Commission, on a 2-1 Republican-led vote on Thursday, restored the practice of counting just part of some stations’ audience. Shrinking the audience allows more room to buy stations before a company reaches the limit of serving 39 percent of the national TV viewership. The agency also said it may consider raising that limit.