NAB to FCC: Repeal or Change Ownership Rules

NAB to FCC: Repeal or Change Ownership Rules
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NAB has told the FCC it believes there's justification for the commission to repeal several of its broadcast media ownership rules. Public comments in the proceeding were due Jan. 2.
"Given the much less dominant position of local broadcasters in today's media markets, the retention of a thicket of broadcast-only local ownership restrictions in their current form is increasingly outmoded and unjustified," stated NAB in its comments.
NAB suggests the commission should structure its local ownership rules so that traditional broadcasters and newer programming distributors "can all compete on an equitable playing field."
The rule that bans one entity from owning radio and TV in the same market is no longer needed, states NAB, especially with both media facing "unprecedented" competition from cable, DBS, and satellite and Internet radio. This is especially true if the commission retains the local radio ownership limits - allowing up to 8 stations in a market - and the TV duopoly rule in their current form, as NAB has recommended.
NAB believes the FCC should let stand the local radio ownership limits, and as well as the current definition for defining a radio market, "given the lack of reliable evidence in the record that increased ownership concentration has caused significantly higher advertising rates." The association states that studies show even big consolidated radio groups cannot exercise undue market power "due to the volatility of ratings and audience shares received by radio stations, declining listening shares earned by even market leading stations, and increased competition from a variety of media outlets."
Reply comments are due Feb. 3.

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