The FCC is expected to vote on Thursday to restore the “UHF discount” — a move that would improve the chances of Sinclair Broadcast Group making a bid for Tribune Media.
The FCC will address the UHF matter on April 20, according to a calendar posted on its Web site — and passage is expected.
Shares of Tribune gained 1.9 percent on Wednesday, to $38.41, while Sinclair shares jumped 3.1 percent, to $40.40.
The UHF discount allowed TV groups to count only 50 percent of households served by channels 14 through 83 in order to comply with rules that cap any station group from reaching more than 39 percent of the country. Channels 14 through 83 have a weaker signal.
Last August, however, a Democratic-controlled FCC eliminated the discount. A Republican-controlled FCC is now expected to restore it — despite a request on Wednesday from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ).
Assuming the UHF discount, Sinclair’s 173 stations and Tribune’s 42 stations would reach 42 percent of the US, according to a Bloomberg estimate. Minimal station sales would get the combines company under the limit.
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