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NAB FOIA’s FCC Media Ownership Work Product

Follows quadrennial order that fails to deregulate broadcasters

In the wake of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s circulation of a quadrennial review of broadcast ownership regulations this week that leaves them essentially intact and, arguably, even tougher, the National Association of Broadcasters wants access to the data the FCC used to come up with that result.

A source confirmed the move was an unusual one for the association, but that they were scratching their heads over how the FCC could draw that conclusion.

National Association of Broadcasters General Counsel Rick Kaplan filed the Freedom of Information Act request Thursday, saying he wanted access to studies, reports, articles, surveys, and other sources of information in a host of dockets related to the rules and the review.

NAB had asked the FCC to loosen or eliminate local ownership and cross-ownership rules. Wheeler instead circulated an item concluding they were still necessary, including trying to restore a joint services agreement tightening a federal court remanded, and extending the duopoly restrictions to affiliation switches.

Kaplan told the FCC he recognizes some documents will be redacted.

In addition to retaining its local ownership and cross-ownership limits, the FCC proposed a definition of shared services agreements and will require they be filed with the FCC, but does not make them attributable as ownership interests … yet.

“Our analysis indicates that the ownership restrictions remain necessary in the public interest, though the realities of the media marketplace require some targeted modifications of a number of the rules,” the Media Bureau said. NAB now wants to know exactly what it was analyzing.

Sorry. No data so far.