NAB Fights Radio-Reg Changes


The National Association of Broadcasters is asking federal judges to continue to block the tighter limits on local radio-station ownership that the Federal Communications Commission approved last summer as part of its controversial and generally deregulatory rewrite of ownership rules.

Those new radio limits, along with loosened restrictions in other areas, have been in limbo thanks to a court stay.

The federal appeals court in Philadelphia ordered the FCC to rewrite many of its changes in June, but upheld one that reduces the number of radio stations one company may own in some small markets.

NAB and other broadcasters have appealed the radio portion of the ruling. Permitting the FCC to implement the change while the rewrite is under way "risks creating needless chaos and disruption in the industry," NAB wrote in a court filing.

The radio limits were the one area where last year’s changes tightened restrictions on how many broadcast properties one company may own in a local market.

Other changes would make it easier for owners to set up TV duopolies and triopolies and to buy local newspapers.

In its request to lift the stay three weeks ago, the FCC said the judges signaled unhappiness with relaxed restrictions, so blocking imposition of a tighter rule makes no sense.