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Court Upholds New Radio Market Definition

Court Upholds New Radio Market Definition

The Philadelphia Appeals Court is allowing the FCC to go ahead with its plan to change the radio market definition to Arbitron Radio Metros – one of several ownership rules passed by the commission but stayed pending appeals by several broadcast groups and citizen’s groups.
NAB had opposed the FCC’s recent request to replace the contour overlap method of determining how many signals are in a market.
The three-judge panel did not explain their decision. In the order, the judges state they are partially lifting their stay of the new ownership rules to allow “using Arbitron Metro markets to define local markets, including noncommercial stations in determining the size of a market, attributing stations whose advertising is brokered under a Joint Sales Agreement to a brokering station’s permissible ownership totals, and imposing a transfer restriction … – are constitutional.”
The appeals court rejected Tribune Co.’s request to lift the FCC’s cross-ownership ban of a TV station and a daily newspaper in the same market.
In June the court remanded the rules governing the numerical ownership limits back to the commission for further justification, and upheld many of the other new ownership changes. The FCC appealed the stay, saying the review of the numerical limits should not prevent it from implementing its other ownership changes.
The commission released no details Friday of how it would implement the new radio market definition, although it is expected to clarify how it would work out the transition, observers said.