FCC Proposes To Eliminate Main Studio Rule

The commission says getting rid of the requirement adopted more than 70 years ago would reduce regulatory burdens and costs for broadcasters.

The FCC today released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to eliminate the main studio rule, which requires each AM, FM and TV station to have a main studio located in or near its local community.

The notice also proposes getting rid of the requirement that the main studio have full-time management and staff present during normal business hours, and the requirement that it be able to originate programming. 

The main studio rule, which the FCC first adopted more than 70 years ago, was originally implemented on the premise that local access to the main studio facilitated input from community members and the station’s participation in community activities. 

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Today, the FCC said, modern communications let stations and community members interact more directly, without the presence of a local broadcast studio. In addition, community members already, or soon will, have online access to a station’s public file, removing the need for community members to visit the main studio to access the file.

Television broadcasters completed their transition to the online public file in 2014, and radio broadcasters will complete their transition by early 2018.

In a statement, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said: “Broadcasters have shown that the main studio rule is a continuous cost that keeps them from serving their local communities in meaningful ways, like broadcasting additional local programming. The proceeding we begin today could grant this broadcaster and all others affected by this rule the flexibility to use their limited resources in a way that best serves their communities. Today’s notice is an important step towards bringing the FCC’s media rules into the digital age.”

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