Repeal the Main Studio Rule, MMTC Asks
When the Federal
Communications Commission published AM revitalization actions and further proposals last fall, it also cracked open a door, at least a little bit, regarding possible changes to the main studio rule under which full-power broadcasters operate. Now some are eager to barge through.
The Multicultural Media,
Telecom and Internet Council, filing comments with the FCC, says the main studio rule discourages
minorities from getting into this business and no longer serves a legitimate
The rule requires full-power stations in the United
States to maintain a studio in the
city of license, or at a site within 25 miles of the city or within the city-grade contour of any station licensed to the city. But MMTC
calls the rule “a 20th century
holdover that should be abolished or modified to recognize 21st century
MMTC argues that eliminating the rule would
provide broadcasters with a substantial opportunity to benefit from competitive cost
efficiencies. Further, “If the commission does not eliminate the
Main Studio Rule, it should provide whatever tangible and immediate relief it
can,” the organization wrote.
It also said the FCC
should immediately begin granting main studio waivers to both non-commercial and commercial
broadcasters, using a more relaxed interpretation of its“good
standard. The commission should not specify an inflexible distance standard and should relax its relax the current staffing requirements.
As Radio World has reported, the FCC raised questions about the relevance of the main studio rule when it laid out AM revitalization steps and further possible changes last fall. But it seems unlikely the FCC would go so far as to remove it entirely, at least based on
language in the revitalization order. At that time, the FCC explained that it has
historically considered a station’s main studio to constitute the location from
which the station can adequately meet its function of serving the needs and interests
of the residents of its community of license. This includes being
adequately equipped to transmit programming, having a meaningful management and
staff presence, and serving as a location for the station’s public file.
… advances in accessibility to broadcast stations and their personnel,” the FCC
wrote in October, “we are reluctant to eliminate main studio requirements entirely,
because of the aforementioned importance of the main studio to the goal of
ensuring station compliance with local service obligations. We therefore seek comment
on whether, and how, to modify the main studio rule in light of our goal in this
proceeding to revitalize the AM service.”
the questions the FCC then asked revolved around waivers and possible modifications
to the existing rules.
the MMTC comments (PDF).
Read the Radio World AM Revitalization eBook.
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