NAB to FCC: Don’t Retreat on Ownership

The National Association of Broadcasters opposes those who wish to overturn the FCC’s rule easing cross-ownership restrictions.

In a 32-page filing submitted to the commission, the trade group said the reform that passed in December is modest and makes no changes to the TV duopoly and local radio ownership rules.

NAB was responding to a petition to deny filed by Common Cause, a public interest group, seeking to restore the cross-ownership ban. The rule since 1975 has prohibited one entity from owning both a daily newspaper and either a TV or radio station in the same market.

“Claims in the petition that the ‘exceptions’ could ‘swallow’ the revised rule and somehow harm the public interest are unmeritorious,” the NAB argued. “Under the revised rules, applicants will in fact have a high hurdle to gain approval for proposed newspaper/broadcast combinations (especially newspaper/television combinations) outside the top 20 Designated Market Areas,” it wrote.

There also is no justification to roll back radio ownership limits, argued NAB. “Due to the growing numbers of audio outlets, increasing audience fragmentation and increased competition for advertising, there clearly are no competition-related bases for rolling back the current levels of local radio ownership,” it wrote.

(Radio World)