Local TV

NBC Affils to FCC: JSAs Benefit Public

Affiliate association execs pitch benefits to FCC eyeing new restriction on those sharing agreements 1/30/2013 02:51:14 PM Eastern

The leadership of the NBC TV Affiliate group were in
Washington last week to, among other things, try and persuade the FCC not to
start counting some TV joint sales agreements (JSAs) toward its local ownership
limits, as it proposed in its Media Ownership rulemaking, which has yet to be
voted.

Their first choice would be loosening those local limits,
they told top FCC staffers in meetings, according to FCC documents. But failing
that, they certainly don't want the FCC to tighten them by making some existing
JSAs off-limits in the future. Those JSAs, the broadcast execs say, have
allowed them to keep TV a "strong and valued" journalism source given
ongoing restrictions on common ownership they would prefer would be
"out" going.

Among the big names who held meetings over two days with
commissioners and their top staffers were Affiliates president/chairman and
Hearst TV president Jordan Wertlieb; David Lougee, president of Gannett's
Broadcast Division and vice chairman of the affiliate group; Ralph Oakley,
president of Quincy Newspapers and vice chairman of government for the
affiliates; and LIN Media president and Affiliates treasurer Vincent Sadusky.

Oakley provided a case study in the value of JSAs and other
sharing arrangements. He talked about KTTC-TV, the NBC/CW affiliate in
Rochester/Austin, Minn.- Mason City, Iowa, and the Fox/Me-TV affiliate, KXLT-TV
it has been providing services to via JSA/shared services agreement.

He said that given the "increased competition and
economic challenges of the television industry," the agreement saves jobs
and provides local news that would not otherwise exist. "As a stand-alone,
KXLT is unable to afford providing local news," he said, while thanks to
the agreement, it has a late evening newscast six nights a week that includes
stories exclusive to that station as well as ones that also run on KTTC.

The execs also weighed in on incentive auctions --
protecting local TV service should be a central goal -- and retransmission
consent/exclusivity rules: Preserving them is vital to their business.

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