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Court holds up FCC move that helps Sinclair-Tribune deal

A federal court has temporarily halted an FCC decision that boosted the major Sinclair-Tribune broadcast merger.

The details: The Republican-controlled FCC recently brought back what is known as the "UHF discount," which effectively allows broadcasters to cover more than the 39% of the country allowed under current rules — because it counts certain types of stations as covering a smaller area. That move has been challenged in court.

Why it matters: The UHF discount eases the acquisition of Tribune by Sinclair Broadcast Group, on of the major media deals of the year.

The court said Thursday that it was halting implementation of the decision. But it cautioned that the "purpose of this administrative stay is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion for stay pending review and should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits of that motion." The FCC declined to comment. Variety reports the stay is expected to last through June 7.

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