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NABOB Proposes Concentrated Broadcast Industry Initiative


NABOB
NABOB

Last week, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded the FCC's 2017 decision, which had relaxed some of its broadcast ownership rules. In doing so the Court said, "We do conclude, however, that the Commission has not shown yet that it adequately considered the effect its actions... will have on diversity in broadcast media ownership. We therefore, vacate and remand the Reconsideration and Incubator Orders in their entirety, as well as the 'eligible entity' definition from the 2016 Report & Order.

Commenting on the Court's decision, NABOB President Jim Winston said, "The Court expressed great frustration with the Commission for not having developed an adequate record to support its conclusion that a small business definition for 'eligible entities' was appropriate."

Winston stated, "This is the fourth time that the Court sent the Commission back to the drawing board because of its failure to develop an adequate record on the impact of its rule changes on ownership by minorities and women. I believe that it is time for the Commission to change course, and I believe it is an excellent opportunity for the industry to help the Commission."

He added, "If the industry makes a concerted effort to get tax certificate legislation adopted by Congress, it can develop a record that could change the result in two ways the next time the Commission is in front of the Court defending its ownership rules. First, in the process of getting Congress to adopt tax certificate legislation, the industry could develop a record to support a definition of eligible entities that would enable the Commission to use a race and gender conscious definition for eligible entities. Second, because the Commission has the 1978 to 1995 history of the tax certificate to rely on, the Commission could demonstrate to the Court that its implementation of a tax certificate program would have a high probability of promoting ownership of broadcast facilities by minorities and women."

Winston concluded, "Several years ago, the industry came together and attempted to get tax certificate legislation passed, but fell short because the Congressional Budget Office grossly overestimated the potential impact on federal tax revenues. I believe we can correct that error and get legislation passed this time."

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