National Association of Broadcasters representatives met with the
offices of Commissioners Ajit Pai and Jessica Rosenworcel last week to
argue against FCC chairman Julius Genachowski's media ownership proposal that
some joint sales agreements (JSAs) should count against local ownership caps.
"NAB is concerned that such a change in the attribution
rules is not supported by the record, will be harmful to television stations
and their viewers, especially in smaller markets, and will undermine the
commission's longstanding goals of competition, diversity, and localism."
NAB provided examples of what it said was more than a dozen
JSAs that "enhanced local news, improved diversity and strengthened
broadcasters' commitment to local programming."
"The Commission should consider the importance of JSAs
to stations' ability to offer high-quality service to their viewers," said
NAB. "Joint sales agreements are often critical to a broadcaster's ability
to improve the quality and quantity of available programming and to remain
financially viable in the face of rising competition."
NAB also said there was no reason for treating TV the same
as radio, for which some JSAs are attributable.
NAB also argued that cable operators use joint sales
arrangements to compete against broadcasters.