NAB: Newspaper-TV Ban ‘Absurd,’ ‘Outdated’

The trade group objects to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal to keep the 41-year-old ban, saying It is now "outdated, and the very notion of a rule hinging on a newspaper being printed and circulated shows its age and inherent arbitrariness."

Citing research documenting the demise of newspapers and the proliferation of digital media, the NAB told the FCC today that maintaining the ban against owning newspapers and TV stations in the same market “borders on the absurd.”

The ban is “no longer needed to promote viewpoint diversity in today’s online world,” the trade group said.

The FCC imposed the ban prospectively in 1975 to insure diversity in local news and viewports, and, despite pressure from the newspaper and broadcasting industries over the years, it has maintained it ever since.

Having reviewed the ban and other ownership restrictions under a congressional mandate, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last week once again proposed to retain it. The proposal apparently has the support of two other FCC Democrats, enough to adopt the recommendation.

“This concept is now outdated, and the very notion of a rule hinging on a newspaper being printed and circulated shows its age and inherent arbitrariness,” the NAB said.

“Especially in light of the transformation of the media marketplace and vast changes in how consumers obtain news and information since 1975, the commission cannot show that either the printed newspaper rule … remains ‘necessary in the public interest,’ ” it said.


“Beyond failing to promote the public interest, retaining outdated crossownership rules affirmatively harms the public’s interest in local news production, particularly given the dire condition of the newspaper industry.”

Comments (7)

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Gene Johnson says:

July 7, 2016 at 3:58 pm

Back in 1998 I worked on rule making comments showing that the broadcast/newspaper cross ownership prohibition was not only outdated, but originally adopted as a prophylactic to guard against possible harm rather than addressing any actual harm that existing cross-ownership situations had caused. It is more than absurd that this rule remains on the books and that there are enough votes on the Commission to keep it in place.

Don Thompson says:

July 7, 2016 at 5:18 pm

@TedatACA has a new patent on a breathalyzer test for @nabtweets to alert one and all when the TV #cashcasters are lobbying while under the influence: Please, FCC let NAB members buy every newspaper in the country, including the ones in our home markets, but don’t let cable operators negotiation retransmission consent with anyone but the local stations. Now that’s what I call blowing a 5.0 on the @TedatACA breathalyzer. Please Follow Me On Twitter: @TedatACA

    Wagner Pereira says:

    July 8, 2016 at 1:28 am

    American Cable Ass. Ted. I have reviewed the ACA’s IRS filings as well as ACA’s Mission Statement and the Organization’s Primary Exempt Purpose from Form 990. Unlike the NCTA or NAB which admit they are lobbying organizations, the ACA claims their Cause Area NTEE Code of S41 – Promotion of Business, a classification usually reserved for Chamber of Commerce type Non-profits. Please explain how your constant spam and inciting posts in a Forum aimed at Broadcasters falls into the ACA’s Primary Mission Statements and Primary Exempt Purposes making ACA tax exempt. As an ACA Officer making $151k+ a year, it appears that this type of actions, it appears the ACA should actually be stripped of its Tax Exempt status and reclassified as a Taxable Organization. Furthermore, can you point to any Chamber of Commerce who goes to other Industries and Cities trying to incite them? Would love to hear your justification. Otherwise, the US Government should certainly be taxing the ACA accordingly. Your actions as to the ACA’s purpose speak louder than your IRS documents.

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