NAB TELLS FCC THAT OWNERSHIP RULES MUST GO
The NAB today called on the FCC to permit common ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations in every market and the ownership of two TV stations—so-called duopolies—in small and medium markets.
The newspaper-broadcast station ban is an anachronism, NAB President David Rehr said in a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. “Certainly in the current, digital multichannel marketplace, local broadcasters are unable to dominate either the advertising market or the marketplace of ideas.”
And duopoly relief is “urgently need,” Rehr said. Small- and medium-market broadcasters are under financial pressure because of the loss of network compensation, the costs of gearing up for digital broadcasting and increased competition, he said.
Same-market combinations would financially strengthen stations, Rehr said. As the FCC found in 2003, he said, they would also “enhance localism and diversity by increasing the amount of news and local programming…and by making local television broadcasters more competitive with other video delivery systems.”
The FCC eliminated the newspaper-broadcast crossownership ban and relaxed the duopoly ban in 2003, but a federal appeals court overturned the ruling. The FCC is now planning another review of the restrictions.