Commentary

Apollo Cuts Newspaper Frequency To Pass Muster With FCC

Three Ohio newspapers will cut their print frequency as part of a plan to get regulator approval for a buyout by a private-equity firm. In other words, the local newspapers are being sacrificed so that Apollo Global Management's acquisition deal might live.

The Dayton Daily News is among the newspapers the private-equity firm is buying with its $3.1 billion takeover of Cox Media Group, New York Post media columnist Keith Kelly reported.

The deal was held up after a federal appeals court reimposed Federal Communications Commission rules that prevent the same company from owning a TV station and daily newspaper in the same major city. The duopoly rules were originally intended to prevent a single owner from having too much power in local media markets.

To skirt the rules, Apollo last month proposed cutting the print frequency of the Dayton Daily News, a 121-year-old newspaper that once won a Pulitzer Prize, as well as the Journal-News in Hamilton, Ohio, and the Springfield News-Sun in Springfield, Ohio.

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While it's dismaying to see several daily newspapers served up as sacrificial lambs to appease the regulatory gods, the digital age makes duopoly rules less important. The three newspapers can still publish updates to their websites and push out electronic newsletters that may help to drive digital subscriptions.

Still, it feels like another nail in the coffin of the embittered local news industry.

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