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Feree: Ownership Rules June 2

Feree: Ownership Rules June 2

FCC Media Bureau Chairman Ken Ferree surprised the room at one NAB session. He declared definitively that the commission will put out new media ownership rules by June 2. Chairman Powell has said this was his goal, but Ferree left the agency no wiggle room at all.
“There will be no delay. June 2nd is the date.” Speaking to reporters afterwards, he said, “My general has said ‘March!’ and I’m marching.”
Earlier in the day, Powell said he didn’t want the schedule to slip beyond that date.
Still, other panelists predicted some slippage in the schedule.
For radio, panelists agree, the largest issue is redefining what constitutes a market. The current method of using contour overlaps sometimes creates situations in which distant signals coming artificially raise a market’s station count. This affects how many stations a group can own there.
In its NPRM on ownership, the commission asked for comment on whether using Arbitron Radio Metros would be suitable. Brian Madden of Leventhal Senter & Lerman PLLC said, “Arbitron may be the way to go, but as a regulatory tool it’s not the ideal measurement” for several reasons.