The FCC’s third comment process allowed to help determine whether or not regulatory approval of General Standardeffort to acquire TEGNA, with the significant investment in non-voting shares of Global management of Apollo, is now closed.

    As rumors swirl that the mandatory February 22 closing date for the deal will be extended by three weeks and prominent members of Congress question the transaction, Standard General Partner and Chief Investment Officer Soo Hyung Kim offered a statement – and an interview opportunity – to the press as part of his latest effort to get the Commission to say yes.

    RBR+TVBR obliged and asked Soo to share what he thinks is the biggest sticking point at the FCC for the deal – the creation of a new licensee No. 2 of broadcast television stations, the consent of “reset” rebroadcasting on stations such as WFXT-25 in Boston, or perhaps the very involvement of Apollo since he is the majority shareholder of Cox Media Group?

    Soo answered questions posed by editor Adam R Jacobson, and we’re happy to feature them in this InFOCUS podcast, presented by dot.FM.

    The media conference call, which started late, saw Soo answer questions after delivering a statement that again saw Standard General express confidence, reinforcing previous statements outlining his rationale for making the offer to acquire TEGNA – his “long-standing commitment” to local television.

    Soo again noted the experience of the new CEO Deb McDermott, and how investing in TEGNA can make it a stronger competitor in the long run. He said: “We have never cut investment in local content. We have increased newsroom staff at our current stations by 28% overall since their acquisition and over our 12-year history in the broadcast space, we have added 40,000 hours of local news at the station we operate. »

    Yet in December binding formal pledges not to cut jobs in TEGNA’s newsrooms for 24 months after the shutdown were offered as a last ditch attempt to induce the Commission to favor its plan to buy TEGNA. A statement regarding retransmission consent rates “and not to increase” those rates also surfaced. On the call, Soo referred to these commitments as “we’re just formalizing what we had planned and communicated from the beginning.”

    It didn’t stop Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to raise concerns about the deal, even as Soo Kim and McDermott note that women and minorities will take a big leap forward if the deal goes through, increasing diverse ownership very significantly.

    Then there is The NewsGuild-CWA, The National Association of Broadcast Employees and TechniciansCWA (NABET-CWA), Common Cause and United Church Of Christ, who, in April 2022, came together to challenge the TEGNA agreement.

    With an enterprise value of $8.6 billion, this is a blockbuster deal. Yet the structure of the Standard General agreement – ​​in particular the financing of Apollo – makes it perhaps more unique than other agreements. The FCC could very well consider this as part of its review, while Standard General has “higher listing fees” with TEGNA’s consent to extend the closing date beyond February 22, 2023.


    TO LISTEN TO ADAM R JACOBSON’S Q&A WITH SOOHYUNG KIM, PLEASE CLICK ON THE EMBEDDED PLAYER BELOW OR THE PODCAST PLAYER AT THE TOP OF THE RBR.COM HOME PAGE.


    Listen to “The InFOCUS Podcast: Soohyung Kim” on Spreaker.



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