FCC modifies reporting requirements for media ownership

October 26, 2009

The FCC last week denied a petition by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) that new ownership forms filed biennially would be a financial burden on some broadcasters. The ownership reports are still due on Nov. 1.

However, the FCC did agree to reconsider requiring broadcasters to report certain nonattributable interests as part of the reporting forms. Among those, the commission temporarily deleted a requirement that required stations to report minority interests in corporations with a single majority shareholder that would be attributable were it not for that shareholder. It invited comment on that issue.

The NAB had challenged the new media ownership reporting requirement changes the FCC made last April under acting chairman Michael Copps. The broadcasters had argued the reporting of nonattributable interests would discourage investment in minority and women-owned outlets.

The new media ownership reporting rules were designed to better describe diversity of media ownership. The FCC seeks to obtain “an accurate, reliable, and comprehensive assessment of minority and female broadcast ownership in the United States.”

The FCC agreed to delete that requirement from the reporting Form 323, but to propose the requirements again in a notice of proposed rulemaking that invites new comment.

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