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FCC Proposes to Retain Local Radio Ownership Limits

Agency is asking for comment on costs, benefits

We’re learning more about the FCC’s intentions for its quadrennial review of media ownership rules now that the agency has released the text of its recent decision.

We reported the commissioners voted to hold television Joint Sales Agreements to the same attribution threshold as radio for ownership purposes — 15%.

Radio World reported the commission left the current tiered local radio limits intact. “We believe that the rule is necessary to promote competition” as well as localism and diversity, “by ensuring a sufficient number of independent radio voices and by preserving a market structure that facilitates and encourages new entry into the local media market,” said the commission in the just-released Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The agency is asking for comments on these tentative conclusions as well as on the costs and benefits to retaining the current tiered limits.

In the NPRM, the commission tentatively concluded that the relevant market for review of the local radio ownership rule is the radio listening market and that it’s not appropriate right now to expand that market to include non-broadcast audio programming sources. The agency is asking for public input on whether the commission should retain this market definition.

The FCC proposes to continue to limit the relevant market for the local radio ownership rule to broadcast stations in local radio listening markets, and also seeks comment on the proposal.

Public comments to MB Dockets 14-50 and 09-182; those are due 45 days after Federal Register publication.