NAB Files Reply Comments On FCC Media-Ownership Review
January 16, 2007 at 1:59 PM (PT)
The NAB today (1/16) filed reply comments related to the FCC's review of its broadcast ownership rules. In them, one of the things the the organization points out is that, based on all the comments the FCC has received, "the evidence establishes that concerns of 'undue consolidation' are unfounded; the 'information' industry is by all objective standards unconcentrated, relative to other American businesses, and the broadcast sector of that industry is actually the least concentrated of the sectors. Permitting more flexible ownership arrangements would enable struggling broadcasters to offer competitive advertising packages and to take advantage of cost-saving efficiencies and economies of scale to better position themselves in the modern marketplace, thereby supporting increasingly costly high-quality local news and public affairs programming and, ultimately, the public interest.
It is critical that the Commission act promptly to give local stations a full and fair opportunity to compete in the contemporary media marketplace, rather than forcing them to languish under the burden of outdated and increasingly irrelevant ownership re
"In addition, the record makes clear, as the FCC previously found, that common ownership enhances localism and does not necessarily harm diversity (and indeed may even enhance certain types of diversity). Not only do consumers enjoy access to a wide variety of diverse programming from an ever-increasing number of new providers, but studies consistently have found that common ownership has increased the diversity of programming offered by local stations. In short, those who would deny the radical changes that have taken place in the broadcast industry since the ownership rules were adopted, or the benefits that joint ownership can bring in the way of more choices, better programming, and innovative services for consumers, would deny both reality and the public interest.
"For these reasons, it is critical that the Commission act promptly to give local stations a full and fair opportunity to compete in the contemporary media marketplace, rather than forcing them to languish under the burden of outdated and increasingly irrelevant ownership restrictions. In fact, the failure to relax the broadcast ownership rules could result in decreased local news and other important local services as stations on the brink of economic survival are forced to curtail such costly programming in order to remain on the air."
The NAB ultimately urges the Commission to "(1) reject the invitation of some commenters to reduce the current ownership levels in local radio markets and instead continue the relaxation of such limits; (2) reform the television duopoly rule to allow more freely the formation of duopolies in markets of all sizes; and (3) repeal the restrictions on cross-ownership of radio stations, television stations, and newspapers."
Read the full text of the NAB's reply comments here.