FCC releases rulemaking notice on media ownership

The Federal Communications Commission July 24 released its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on proposals to changes to rules governing the ownership of radio and television stations and newspapers.

The commission is seeking comments on issues raised by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruling in the Prometheus vs. FCC decision. It also wants to find out if ownership rules are “necessary in the public interest as the result of competition.” The release of the Further Notice comes about one month following its adoption. (See: Commission revisits media ownership rules. )

The Further Notice addresses issues the appeals court remanded in the Prometheus case, including:

  • the numerical limits on local TV station ownership for further justification;
  • the commission’s elimination of a requirement to show no out-of-market buyer is reasonably available when seeking a failed, failing or unbuilt television station waiver for further justification; and
  • the limits to cross ownership of local television stations and newspapers and cross ownership of local radio and television stations — specifically, the Cross Media Limits and media Diversity Index criteria the commission used for further justification or modification.

The commission is also seeking comment on the necessity of maintaining its dual network rule and whether or not the appeals court’s ruling in Prometheus regarding the UHF discount is ambiguous.

Comments are due to the commission Sept. 22. Reply comments are due Nov. 21.

For more information, visit: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-06-93A1.doc.