NAB: Opposing Ownership Reform is Fundamentally Backward
|RADIO ONLINE | Thursday, May 30, 2019|
In a filing with the FCC regarding the agency's 2018 Quadrennial Regulatory Review, NAB says "the comments submitted by those parties opposing reform of the FCC's local radio and TV ownership rules are fundamentally backward." Commenters against relaxation of the ownership restrictions argue that the Commission, in reviewing its radio rules, would be failing to act in the public interest, if it focused on competition among audio delivery platforms for advertising dollars and audiences, wrote the trade organization.
NAB says if broadcast stations cannot successfully compete against other audio and video delivery platforms for audiences and, thus, advertising dollars, they will not earn revenues needed to cover their substantial fixed costs and will be unable to serve listeners and viewers effectively, let alone improve their programming and technical facilities.
These parties fail, the NAB writes in the filing, to explain how imposing ownership restrictions only on local broadcast stations in today's competitive marketplace promotes their "economic viability" and their ability to serve the public. Other commenters urge the FCC to deemphasize competition in its review, contrary to statutory mandate, congressional intent in the 1996 Act, judicial precedent and previous quadrennial review decisions.
NAB claims that given the vastly increased competition in the modern digital marketplace, placing competition at the rear of relevant considerations in this proceeding clearly would be backward. The filing says "the FCC's primary focus in this proceeding should be on the intense and growing competition radio and TV stations face for audiences and advertising revenue in a broad marketplace with myriad content sources and advertising options."
Due to these profound changes, NAB claims the current local radio and TV ownership rules are no longer "necessary in the public interest as the result of competition," and Section 202(h) requires the Commission to "repeal or modify" them.