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Supremes Decline Media Ownership Review

Supremes Decline Media Ownership Review

The controversial new media ownership rules are back in the FCC’s court. The Supreme Court declined to review appeals filed by several broadcasters and citizen groups. A lower court had remanded the bulk of the rules back to the commission for better numerical and other justification.
The high court offered no explanation for declining to take the case.
NAB had opposed the new radio ownership rules in its appeal, citing the move to an Arbitron Radio Metro as the new market definition, would not solve the occasional problem of a long-distance signal being counted in a market. The definition replaced the old contour-overlap method for determining the number of signals in a market.
The new radio rule also counts JSAs toward local ownership caps.
Another rule appealed by several groups involved the easing of cross ownership restrictions; the agency had passed a rule lifting a ban on one company that owns a newspaper from also owning a TV or radio station in the same market.
Commissioners passed rules that eased ownership limits in 2003 but those were put on hold by a federal appeals court; the court told the agency it needed better justification for the numerical limits.
The lower court had let the FCC implement some rules, including the new radio market definition.
If implemented, the FCC’s rules would have increased the number of households a single television corporation could reach with its broadcasts, and the number of media outlets a company could own in a market.
NAB declined comment on the development.
“We aren’t treating the Supreme Court’s decision as an end in and of itself, but it does add fuel to our burning desire to make more room for local voices in our corporate-dominated media landscape,” said Hannah Sassaman, project organizer for the Prometheus Radio Project, another petitioner against the rules.