Broadcasters seek duopoly relief in small markets

A newly formed group of small broadcasters is lobbying members of the FCC for duopoly relief in the nation’s smallest TV markets.

The group, headed by Raycom Media’s Paul McTear, wants the FCC and Congress to offer them the same opportunity to operate duopolies as those enjoyed by their major market counterparts.

Smaller-market broadcasters, the group argued, are taking a financial hit from the DTV transition, the elimination of network compensation and falling advertising revenues.

The Smaller Market Broadcasters Coalition comprises several TV station groups with 111 stations in markets ranging from Providence, RI (DMA 51), to Ottumwa, IA-Kirksville, MO (DMA 199).

In addition to McTear, representing the coalition in the lobbying effort are Barrington Broadcasting’s Jim Yager, Quincy Newspapers’ Ralph Oakley, Freedom Broadcasting’s Doreen Wade and Darrell Blue with Morgan Murphy Stations.

A federal appeals court voided the FCC’s ownership rules, forcing the current initiative to re-write the rules. In January, McTear plans to meet with key leaders of the new Democrat-controlled Congress to discuss the issue.