In what is likely to be one of his last major speeches as FCC chairman, Ajit Pai used a good portion of his time speaking virtually with the Media Institute on Tuesday, Dec. 15, about the continued fight over new media ownership rules.
FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly: “The success of local television news in some markets comes even as the broadcast industry in general faces monumental challenges that existed apart from COVID-19, largely due to competition from unregulated high-tech companies openly competing for the same local advertising dollars. And, these successes come despite the obstruction of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which overturned well-reasoned efforts by the FCC to modernize outdated media ownership rules last fall.”
FCC attorneys are probably hoping the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit won’t issue its decision on Mozilla’s challenge to the commission’s Restoring Internet Freedom ISP deregulation order Tuesday (June 11). (The court releases opinions Tuesdays and Thursdays and case watchers are looking for a decision anytime now.) That’s because a number of those FCC attorneys, including General Counsel Tom Johnson, will be on their way to Philadelphia for oral argument in the challenge to the FCC’s media ownership deregulation, according to an FCC source.
The duopoly, the FCC and the hunger for scale — these three forces are roiling the news industry, from corporate conglomerates to your hometown daily.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., America’s biggest TV station group, is drawing fire for how it skirts media ownership limits by using “sidecar” agreements to run stations it doesn’t own. WSJ subscribers can read the full story here.
The Newspaper Association of America noted that the FCC’s proposed update of media ownership rules is nearly identical to the proposal put forth by the agency in 2007.
The last thing FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski wants to talk about are the media ownership rules. With the exception of a fleeting mention of media ownership, Genachowski has said very little about the 2010 quadrennial review of the rules required by Congress.But time is running out. If the FCC doesn’t get to the rules soon, it will slam right into the election, making the rules an even more toxic political issue at the time when local politicians count most on their local media outlets.
The American Cable Association is using the Fort Wayne, Ind., antitrust suit by Nexstar against Granite to bolster its contention that the FCC needs to change its rules to limit concentration of station ownership and control. Nexstar says that’s not so, that the situation in Fort Wayne is unique.
The Prometheus Radio Project was back in court Thursday, hoping to convince a panel of three federal judges to crank-up the way back machine and reverse the FCC’s decision to loosen the ban on newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership.