NAB Files Reply Comments with FCC Over Ownership
In a filing with the FCC over its media ownership rules, NAB says that not only that the current rules are unnecessary under the 1996 Telecom Act, and that they actually undermine the FCC's competition, localism and diversity goals. The trade association says there is an abundance of evidence showing that digital and mobile have produced unprecedented levels of competition and that broadcast stations compete intensely against each other and against myriad other platforms for ad revenues.
"In this marketplace, the broadcast ownership restrictions disadvantage local stations and threaten broadcasters' competitive viability, especially in small and mid-sized markets," the filing continued. "The record is similarly void of evidence showing that the broadcast ownership rules remain necessary to promote localism."
NAB claims that current rules ultimately constricts the resources that broadcasters can devote to local services, including news. "Previous FCC comments also provided numerous real-world examples, to supplement the empirical evidence already on record, showing how common and crossownership of broadcast stations promote local service to communities," the trade group wrote.
NAB also says that the record demonstrates that the ownership rules do not enhance diversity. "Because the current broadcast ownership restrictions do not promote any of the FCC's stated goals, they no longer are necessary in the public interest and must be repealed or substantially relaxed."
When it comes to local radio ownership, NAB says that keeping local radio ownership limits established in 1996 in a much less competitive and diverse audio marketplace can no longer be justified. "It is illogical and arbitrary to consider only broadcast radio stations in defining the relevant market," the filing said. "Instead, numerous studies, including those commissioned by the FCC, have shown that higher levels of common ownership in local radio markets promote diversity." (04-17-12)
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