FCC Modernizes Broadcast Ownership Rules

The Federal Communications Commission voted to modernize its broadcast ownership rules and to help promote ownership diversity in the broadcast industry. The Order on Reconsideration:

  • Addresses several petitions for reconsideration of the Commission’s August 2016 Order in the 2010/2014 Quadrennial Regulatory Review that left the outdated broadcast ownership rules largely unchanged. Specifically, today the Commission eliminates the Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership Rule, Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Rule, and Television Joint Sales Agreement Attribution Rule.
  • Modifies the Local Television Ownership Rule to better reflect competitive conditions in local markets by eliminating the Eight-Voices Test, which requires at least eight independently owned television stations to remain in a market before any entity may own two television stations in that market. The Order permits exceptions to the prohibition on an entity owning two of the top four stations in a market if it can be shown that a particular transaction would be in the public interest.
  • The Order does not address the issue of the national ownership cap and the associated UHF discount which are not part of the Quadrennial Review, and which will be considered in a separate proceeding later in 2017.
  • In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission decides to establish, and seeks comment on how to implement and structure, a new incubator program in which established broadcasters would help facilitate entry by new voices into the marketplace by providing access to capital and/or technical expertise to new entrants and small businesses.

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FCC Modernizes Broadcast Ownership Rules Fact Sheet