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Court fails to signal position on ownership 4/23/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

NAB: FCC Should Stay Out of ‘Joint’

In comments to the FCC, the NAB said why joint station agreements should not be counted toward local-ownership caps, as some cable ops also have pushed for:

1)
The record demonstrates that the benefi ts of sharing arrangements are numerous and substantial.

2) Sharing arrangements support the commission’s policy goals.

3) The record demonstrates that the benefits of sharing arrangements are numerous and substantial.

4) Restricting sharing arrangements would be bad public policy and may exceed the commission’s statutory and constitutional authority.

5) There is no merit to allegations that sharing arrangements give rise to impermissible levels of control over licensee programming or core operating functions.

6) Allegations that joint retransmission-consent negotiations give rise to impermissible levels of control over core operating functions are baseless.

Source: NAB

The Supreme Court last week did not issue an up
or down vote on broadcasters’ challenge to the FCC’s
media ownership rules. That leaves the status of media
ownership rules in about the same place they have been for
almost a decade—essentially unresolved, and with broadcasters
still lacking the regulatory certainty
to chart an otherwise challenging future.

The Court took no action after reportedly
conferencing on three broadcaster
appeals to the 3rd Circuit Court decision
vacating the newspaper/broadcast crossownership
changes and upholding the
FCC’s 2007 decision—one reinforced by
the present commission—not to loosen
duopoly rules. As it stands, neither the
FCC nor broadcasters know whether the
Court will hear the appeals, which means
the FCC cannot proceed unimpeded with
its proposed rule modifications since they
could wind up being mooted.

Not that broadcasters are too happy
with those proposed changes anyway.

The FCC is getting plenty of input on
the issue. Last week, commenters had
their last opportunity to weigh in on the 3rd Circuit’s decision
and FCC response. The FCC had agreed to delay comments until
after the Supreme Court order list, which provided no further
guidance. Gordon Smith, NAB president, did not even mention
the issue at the NAB convention in Las Vegas last week, but
that probably should not be a surprise since broadcasters don’t
anticipate getting much help from the FCC on that front.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, on the other hand,
cited the FCC’s media ownership rule proposal in his speech at the NAB show. “Broadcast ownership
continues to be an important issue,”
he said. “In December, we issued
a proposal that recognizes the ways in
which the video marketplace is changing,
largely as a result of broadband.”

Broadcasters don’t see it that way. In
comments to the FCC last week,
the NAB said that far from recognizing
changes in the marketplace, the
proposal would jeopardize broadcasters’
ability to compete in that marketplace.

The NAB argues “abundant evidence” is available showing
that mobile digital media have produced unprecedented competition
and that last-century limits on station ownership within
a market or on ownership of other media hinder stations’
viability, particularly among smaller and mid-sized stations.

“We’re not asking for wholesale deregulation,” says NAB
representative Dennis Wharton. “But rules that bar a broadcaster
from buying a newspaper—and possibly saving journalism
jobs—make no sense.”

A number of former FCC chairmen have generally agreed
with that assessment, but acknowledged they failed to lift
the ban for fear of angering Congress. The current FCC has
not shown any signs of breaking with that tradition.

E-mail comments
to
jeggerton@nbmedia.com
and follow him
on Twitter:
@eggerton

NAB: FCC Should Stay Out of ‘Joint’

In comments to the FCC, the NAB said why joint station agreements should not be counted toward local-ownership caps, as some cable ops also have pushed for:

1)
The record demonstrates that the benefi ts of sharing arrangements are numerous and substantial.

2) Sharing arrangements support the commission’s policy goals.

3) The record demonstrates that the benefits of sharing arrangements are numerous and substantial.

4) Restricting sharing arrangements would be bad public policy and may exceed the commission’s statutory and constitutional authority.

5) There is no merit to allegations that sharing arrangements give rise to impermissible levels of control over licensee programming or core operating functions.

6) Allegations that joint retransmission-consent negotiations give rise to impermissible levels of control over core operating functions are baseless.

Source: NAB

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