The National Association of Broadcasters will take the lead challenging new
Federal Communications Commission limits on local TV duopolies and radio
ownership in court, the group's board decided Monday.
Despite greatly expanded opportunities for owners to control two TV stations in
a market, the NAB said the FCC didn't go far enough.
A restriction barring duopolies among a market's four top-rated stations
effectively bans TV pairs in many of the small markets where scarce ad revenue
jeopardizes the profitability of the third- and fourth-place stations.
THe NAB also opposes a new radio-market measurement that reduces the number of
stations an owner may control in some small markets.
TV affiliates' court fight to reinstate the 35% cap, which the NAB supports, will
be led by attorneys for the Network Affiliated Stations Alliance.
Lawsuits challenging the FCC's June 2 broadcast-ownership deregulation are
expected to be filed from all sides of the issue, not just broadcasters.
Federal appeals judges in Washington, D.C., are expected to take up the cases after
the FCC rules on petitions to reconsider its vote.
Legislation to rewrite the FCC's decision is moving independently of the
reconsideration petitions and court challenges.