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Adelstein: Counting repeaters as independent stations undermines intent of ownership rules

Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein has called for an immediate reconsideration of the new FCC media ownership rule to correct an “anomaly” that makes the number of separate TV stations operating in some small towns appear larger than it actually is and thereby promotes greater media concentration than the rule apparently intended.

Under the new rule, every noncommercial television station is counted as a separate station regardless of whether it originates programming or operates as a repeater. With each repeater counted as a separate station, some small towns are catapulted to the top of market size and become subject to rules intended for larger cities.

Prior to the rule change this summer, the commission rules governing ownership of TV stations and cross ownership were based upon the number of independent voices in a community. TV stations that duplicated programming weren’t counted as independent voices. The new rules wipe away that distinction and are triggered by the number of stations in a DMA.

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