On the heels of a letter from Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D- W.Va.) suggesting the FCC might want to hold off on approving broadcast mergers until it gets a better handle on the impact of sharing agreements, the American Cable Association has followed up with its own letter asking the FCC to factor those agreements into its decision.
ACA has challenged several of the broadcast mergers currently before the FCC, asking it to either block them or disallow coordinated retransmission consent negotiations among the stations entering into those agreements when they spin off stations to stay within FCC local ownership caps.
The FCC's Media Bureau in other instances has declined to weigh in on the joint sales and operating agreements, pointing out they are within the rules, and there is an open proceeding on whether or not they should be.
Citing the Rockefeller letter, which asks the FCC to collect more input and review transaction involving the joint operating and sales agreements, ACA says the best way to do that is to have the commission, rather than the Media Bureau, review all such transactions.
"Only by doing so can the Commission ensure that the public values of competition, localism and diversity are fully served by its reviews of transactions involving U.S. broadcast licenses," said ACA President Matt Polka.