Station Owner Wants FCC To Intervene In Arbitron Market Definition Dispute
May 6, 2008 at 3:12 PM (PT)
MANHATTAN BROADCASTING CO. is not giving up on its attempts to get the FCC to intervene in ARBITRON's adoption of a "gerrymandered" SALINA-MANHATTAN, KS market, filing another letter with the Commission responding to letters filed by ARBITRON and MORRIS COMMUNICATIONS CO. and complaining that the Commission should order ARBITRON to withdraw the new metro definition agreement with MORRIS.
MBC says that ARBITRON and MORRIS "continue to duck, dodge and weave, doing everything possible to avoid addressing the question of just how their manipulation of the ratings process is consistent with the public interest. They continue to assert that it's (sic) none of the Commission's business if they engage in anticompetitive conduct, creating an artificial 'market' in order that MORRIS might earn advertising revenues for serving areas where they have little or no listening history in return for a long term contract with ARBITRON."
ARBITRON is not regulated by the FCC, but MBC asserts that the FCC "is well within its authority in acting here to prevent abusive actions by MORRIS, a Commission licensee, even though they are taken in concert with ARBITRON, a non-licensee," citing the FCC's charter under the Communications Act of 1934 and public interest requirements.
The Commission normally defers to courts in matters of contractural disputes and the JUSTICE DEPARTMENT for anti-trust allegations.