U.S. News

U.S. regulators confirm plans to fine Sinclair $13 million over ads

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Communications Commission confirmed Thursday it plans to fine Sinclair Broadcasting Corp $13.38 million after it failed to properly disclose that paid programming that aired on local TV stations was sponsored by a cancer institute.

The proposed fine - first reported by Reuters on Dec. 15, covers about 1,700 spots, including commercials that looked like news stories that aired during newscasts for the Utah-based Huntsman Cancer Institute over a six-month period in 2016 - could bolster critics of Sinclair’s proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media Co. This is the largest-ever fine the FCC has proposed for violating sponsorship rules, but significantly less than the statutory maximum of $82 million.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Jonathan Oatis