Rep. Neal To FCC: Keep Existing JSAs

Rep. Richard Neal today asked the FCC to grandfather existing JSAs between broadcasters. The Massachusetts Democrat says the agreements lead to benefits including localism and diversity.

Rep. Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, today urged the FCC to grandfather existing joint sales agreements between broadcasters, saying the arrangments boost localism and diversity.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Neal said that while he supports the Commission’s goals of “competition, localism and diversity,” he said he also has seen the benefits of joint sales agreements. He says a station in his district that has a JSA has brought “localism and diversity” to its community. “They provide news in both quantity and quality — adding hours of news and investigative teams,” he said.

He said companies that have made investments in small markets based on JSAs should be able to keep the agreements. “The investment has added local content, local jobs and local opportunities,” he says.

The FCC is widely expected to vote on a blanket ban of JSAs as soon as March 31.

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Ellen Samrock says:

March 21, 2014 at 5:20 pm

It’s great to see some bi-partisan support for JSAs. As Rep. Neal has done, members of Congress need to check and see if Wheeler’s disastrous policy against broadcast JSAs (he obviously has no problem with similar agreements among cable providers) will have a negative impact on the stations and communities in their district. If so, they need to speak up NOW.

Steve Ingram says:

March 24, 2014 at 4:27 pm

If the FCC crushes JSA’s and SSA’s in their upcoming meeting, you can rest assured that within 30 months there will be not only less diversity in broadcast ownership, there will be less local news. It would make one wonder if someone isn’t standing ready to line Tom Wheeler’s pockets once he leaves office if he pulls this one off against the American public and free speech.

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