From The NAA Update

On Wednesday, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission circulated a draft order to change the long-standing rules on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership. The circulation order is not public, but we understand that it would (1) repeal the newspaper-radio cross-ownership ban entirely; and (2) permit television-newspaper cross-ownership in the top 20 markets, so long as the co-owned television station is not one of the top-four rated stations and eight media “voices” remain after the combination.

While we are disappointed that the order does not throw this regulatory relic out completely, we are pleased that it proposes to repeal the ban on newspaper/radio combinations in the same market. NAA has met with all of the FCC commissioners over the last few weeks and strongly encouraged the agency to take the first step in liberalizing this outdated rule by lifting the newspaper/radio cross-ownership restriction.

NAA continues to push for full repeal of all of the ownership restrictions, which is the only rational result in our current marketplace. In particular, NAA continues to seek a more liberal waiver standard to provide greater flexibility for investments in newspapers by owners of television stations.

A vote on the chairman’s draft order could come later in the month, or in December. There are some interest groups that continue to oppose any changes to the media ownership rules. We believe NAA should support the commission in its effort to take the first step in the relaxation of this 37-year-old ban.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Paul Boyle at (571) 366-1150; paul.boyle@naa.org.

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