NAB’s JSA Appeal May Get ‘Friendly’ Court

Broadcasters' challenge of the FCC's order banning JSAs will be heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, a court seen as more sympathetic to the broadcasting cause. But supporters of the new rules have asked that the case be transferred to the appeals court in Philadelphia, which has in the past upheld strict broadcast ownership limits.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington has been tapped to consider the National Association of Broadcasters’ challenge to the FCC’s decision to crack down on joint sales agreements, a move that bodes well for broadcasters, broadcast industry sources said.

Public interest group representatives have been hoping that the case would be assigned to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, which broadcasters say has been less friendly to broadcast industry interests than the D.C. Circuit court over the years.

“That [the assignment of the case to the DC circuit court] is good news for us, since the DC Circuit has always been less hesitant to overturn ‘arbitrary and capricious’ FCC decisions,” one broadcast industry source said.

The NAB challenged the FCC’s March 31 crackdown on JSAs, alleging that the agency ruling barring the formation of new JSAs — and requiring existing JSAs to unwind within two years, unless the broadcasters can convince the FCC to issue them a public interest waiver — went too far and was arbitrary and capricious.

The Prometheus Radio Project, a citizens group that favors strict broadcast ownership limits, petitioned the Philadelphia court to review the FCC’s JSA ruling, on grounds that the agency crackdown didn’t go far enough.

The decision to hear the case in Washington was made by lottery.


The case could still end up in the Philadelphia court.

Andrew Schwartzman, a Prometheus attorney, told TVNewsCheck that the group would ask that the case be transferred to Philadelphia on grounds that that court had considered previous challenges to the FCC’s ownership rules.

“Our view is the 3rd Circuit is the only court which can hear the case for jurisdictional reasons,” Schwartzman said.

NAB had no comment.

Comments (5)

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Brian Bussey says:

June 4, 2014 at 3:57 pm

JSA’s need to be called..”joint layoff agreements ” thats all that ever happens..

    Wagner Pereira says:

    June 4, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    read the comments below. they sum it up quite well.

Mike Anderson says:

June 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Well, HopeUMakeit , wait until you see the massive layoffs when we ( broadcast owners) have to undo the JSA’s. Do you think dollars are going to magically appear to keep people employed? Do you think revenues will increase by breaking apart JSA’s, thus allowing folks to keep their jobs? Time for a reality check for you

Michelle Underwood says:

June 4, 2014 at 4:30 pm

The weak JSA stations will end up getting sold off for bandwidth; no more station, no more jobs. Despite the FCC’s protestations that this is to increase minority ownership, minority owners don’t like to loose money either.

    Janet Frankston Lorin says:

    June 4, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Does FCC think that minorities are stupid enough to buy a stand alone RTV Network station? I would be a bit offended by that!