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FCC Suspends ‘Eligible Entity’ Rule

Pending, granted non-final CP extensions affected, too

The United States Court of Appeals Third Circuit’s decision in Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC earlier this month vacated the FCC’s “eligible entity” definition — a part of the commission’s diversity policy.

In light of the court decision, the agency now says it will address the definition as part of its 2010 quadrennial media ownership review. In the meantime, the Media Bureau has suspended application of the eligible entity rule provisions “in all contexts.”

The commission had been encouraging “eligible entities,” such as small businesses, to acquire CPs for new stations that were close to expiring, and giving them 18 more months to build the station. The decision ends that practice for the time being.

In its notice, the commission provided guidance on the effect of the court decision on granted final, granted non-final and pending applications involving assignments of broadcast CPs to eligible entities.

— Leslie Stimson