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Indecency, Ownership Left Pending at FCC for 2014

Agency trying to become more efficient

The FCC has a few broadcast issues left on its plate that would affect radio for 2014.

Its regular media ownership review is big one; New Chairman Tom Wheeler recently pulled back the current media ownership item from circulation.

His predecessor, Julius Genachowski, had circulated the previous version among commissioners. Among other things, it would have eliminated the ban on newspaper-radio and television-radio cross-ownership.

Wheeler withdrew the item in order to re-assess the issue. The commission must review its media ownership rules every four years. The 2010 review is what was circulating among the commissioners; that’s now likely to be included in the 2014 review.

The perennial indecency issue also remains pending. Broadcasters have told the commission the rules governing obscenity and indecency are from a world in which few media outlets reached homes and they are archaic.

The commission in April said the agency had reduced its indecency complaint backlog by some 70%, by dismissing more than one million complaints. It asked for public input on whether the agency should adopt an “egregious cases” policy, implying it would focus less on fleeting or isolated indecency incidents.

Also, Wheeler recently told members of Congress agency staffers are reviewing the agency’s processes and looking at how to make the FCC more efficient.