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Congress requires the FCC to limit the reach of broadcast media channels to 39% of households in America. This is a rule created by Congress to prevent monopolization of broadcast media and ensure increased competition. While that limit still holds, an antiquated rule has been revived that allows some channels to only count half of their total viewership toward this cap.
This rule originally applied to UHF stations, which didn't have the same technological benefits of VHF stations. They received a special exemption that enabled them to count their viewership as half of the households they could reach. If you're thinking these technological differences don't exist anymore, you're right. All channels are now digital, so their viewership should be counted the same.
Before Ajit Pai restored this antiquated rule, every household within range of the station had to be counted toward the 39% limit. With the old UHF rule back in place, broadcast conglomerates only need to count half of these households toward the limit.
Now a pro-Trump broadcast company called Sinclair Broadcast Group is doing just that. Sinclair owns 170 stations and reaches 38% of households in America already. Sinclair wants to buy 42 additional stations that will extend it's reach to 72% of households in America, nearly double the cap, according to Politico.
Sinclair's purchase can still be opposed by Congress with antitrust statutes. If you are concerned about this consolidation of media channels, please contact your representatives in Congress today!
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