With the FCC about to propose changes in its national ownership cap for television at its meeting tomorrow (see our article here), we thought that we would take a look back to the week before Thanksgiving, when the FCC made some important decisions for the broadcast industry – including the approval of the Next Generation TV transmission standard and the change in numerous broadcast ownership rules. We promised to take a deeper look at these decisions when the texts of the orders were released, and here is a look at some of the interesting items in the ownership decision. We will only lightly touch on radio issues here, concentrating primarily on TV matters, as the FCC made few changes that directly affected radio, pushing most to the next Quadrennial Review of the ownership rules, likely to begin next year. We’ll post some thoughts on radio issues at some point in the future.
Certainly, there was plenty of legal discussion about the standards for reconsidering an FCC decision (this reconsideration being a review of the FCC’s ownership order adopted under the last administration in August 2016). While the FCC ultimately concluded that it could review the 2016 decision where it believed that there were substantial errors in the Commission’s initial decision, the legal wrangling over the process for the review is perhaps less interesting to most in the broadcast industry than is some of the other discussion contained in the order and what that may portend for further ownership review by this administration. So let’s look at the FCC’s discussion of the various issues that it faced in the reconsideration order. Continue Reading