The National Association of Broadcasters is trying to get a provision removed from a House Federal Communications Commission appropriations bill that would prevent it from implementing its relaxation of the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership ban.
NAB president David Rehr sent letters to all of the members of the House Appropriations Committee asking them to oppose the provision, which was approved last week by the Appropriations Committee's Financial Services Subcommittee.
Rehr told the legislators that the reform was modest -- too modest, in fact, since the NAB and others have challenged it in court as insufficient deregulation -- that the FCC came to that conclusion as the result of a statutory obligation to review its rules and that evidence shows that letting TV stations and newspapers combine is in the public interest.
"There is no reason to rescind this modest reform of the FCC’s complete prohibition on newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership," he said in his letter.
The Senate already passed a provision that would moot that move to block the funding by nullifying the FCC's rule entirely. The House has not yet voted to do the same, but the funding gambit, if it survives, would achieve the same end.