HOUSTON – Since selling three television stations to Marshall Broadcasting Group (MBG) in 2014, Nexstar Broadcasting Inc. (Nexstar) has actively worked to undermine MBG and its stations, according to the lawsuit in the Supreme Court of the State of New York this morning.
In 2014 Nexstar sold three stations (KPEJ-TV, KMSS-TV, KLJB-TV) to MBG. Nexstar was forced to sell the stations due to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations and chose MBG as a buyer, believing that the FCC would look favorably upon MBG’s status as a minority-owned business the lawsuit alleges. It goes on to say allege that while the FCC was led to believe that the sale would further the commission’s objective of increasing ethnic diversity in ownership of broadcast stations, as soon as the arrangement was inked Nexstar sought to sabotage and undermine MBG’s operations to decrease its worth.
“It has become clear that our only value to Nexstar was diversity optics at the FCC,” said MBG President and CEO Pluria Marshall Jr. “Ever since the deal was signed, Nexstar has gone to great lengths to constantly interfere, undercut our authority and sabotage our business, with little regard for the agreements in place with us or the FCC.”
As of today, only 12 out of 1,400 full-power, commercial TV stations are black-owned – less than one percent. Since MBG owns 3 of the 12stations, Nexstar’s efforts to push MBG out of business would remove 25 percent of the black-owned stations on the air today.
“Nexstar’s bait and switch flies in the face of the FCC’s quest for diversity in ownership. If allowed to go unchecked, it could affect ALL minority owned businesses in the telecommunications space,” said Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., President & CEO, National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). “This behavior is a road map on how to use minority-owned businesses for companies’ own gain and squash diverse programming once the ink on the deal is dry. Failing to act will embolden companies to go after the handful of remaining minority-owned stations and scare away prospective minority owners.”
In addition to explaining how Nexstar undermined MBG, the lawsuit outlines MBG’s efforts to work in good faith with Nexstar to try and resolve the behaviors in question and create a strong and prosperous partnership between the two companies.
The case is Marshall Broadcasting Group, Inc. v. Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. and is filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County.