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NAB Doesn’t Want All Media Rules Dumped

NAB Doesn't Want All Media Rules Dumped

NAB President/CEO Eddie Fritts wants to put the record straight. He says there are some myths floating around about what NAB wants the FCC to do with ownership rules.
The association has never sought wholesale deregulation of broadcasting, he told a lunch crowd at the Media Institute.
“There have been some overheated press accounts … suggesting the FCC is on a mad rush to toss out all media ownership rules. I don’t believe that to be the case,” Fritts said.
“Instead, the commission is responding to five different appeals court decisions ordering it to better justify rules that can be justified, and to get rid of those that can’t.”
For radio, he said, before passage of the 1996 Telecom Act, the industry was in “terrible financial shape.” Some 60% of stations were losing money; scores went dark.
Lawmakers got it right in 1996, he said.
“Even with deregulation, radio ownership remains far more diversified than virtually all media. There are 3,500 separate companies that still own stations in the U.S. The top 10 radio companies account for less than 45% of industry revenue. That’s far less market power than in the record industry, the movie industry or in cable TV.”
To those who ask how NAB can support a national ownership cap in television, but not radio, he pointed out that the two businesses are different, starting with numbers: there are 1,300 commercial TV stations, compared to 13,000 radio stations.