FCC’s Wheeler defends broadcaster crackdown

Source: Hill, The
Author: Julian Hattem
Coverage Type: reporting
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is defending a controversial move to limit broadcast companies’ ability to cooperate as merely an attempt to defend the laws on the book.

At a summit put on the by the American Cable Association, Chairman Wheeler accused broadcasters of carrying on a “charade” to skirt the rules. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out,” he told the supportive cable industry crowd.

“This concept of competition and diversity and localism was being undone by legal legerdemain,” he said. “It makes no sense to create a situation where you own a broadcast license, I want to get control of that license but I can’t because I own another station in town, and I’ll tell you what, I’m going to buy 90 percent of all of your assets... and you keep the license because that makes you the owner.”

Chairman Wheeler added: “What we were trying to do was say: ‘Look, this is harmful to competition. It is harmful to the marketplace of broadcast transactions. There is a set of rules, a set of concepts, that have been hallowed in communications law. We’re trying to stick to those concepts and say how do those apply in this world?”



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