On March 10, 2022, TEGNA Broadcast Holdings, LLC, licensee of WQAD-TV, RF Channel 31/Virtual 8, Moline, IL, filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission for transfer of control. On February 24, 2023, the Commission designated the application for an evidentiary hearing on the following issues:
- Whether, in light of the record presented, retransmission consent fees will rise as a result of the Transactions, and if so, whether such an increase is the result of a properly functioning, competitive marketplace, or, alternatively, whether such rate increases would be the result of the unique structure of the Transactions in which the various assignments and/or transfers of control are closed sequentially in order to take advantage of after-acquired station clauses and maximize retransmission revenue, and further, whether such a result would be mitigated by the commitments offered by the Applicants; and
- Whether, and to what extent, in light of the record presented, local content and programming in the affected communities would be adversely affected due to the proposed plans and commitments of SGCI Holdings for station-level staff; its intentions for investments in the stations; the potential financial pressures connected with the acquisition and ownership structure; and the potential effectiveness of the commitments offered by the Applicants.
Members of the public wishing to view the Hearing Designation Order or to file comments can visit https://www.fcc.gov/document/mb-issues-hearing-designation-order-related-tegna-transaction.