The FCC has extended the time for filing comments in its ownership proceeding. While comments on the new Quadrennial Review of the ownership rules had been set to be filed by July 7 (see our article here), the Commission has now extended the deadline until August 6 at the request of the Coalition for Smaller Market Television Stations, which wanted more time to develop additional comments, particularly on the issue of shared services agreements. Reply comments are now due September 8. This proceeding raises many issues, including not only shared services, but also more basic questions as to whether the FCC should make any changes to the local radio and television ownership limitations, whether it should retain the broadcast-newspaper and radio-television cross-ownership limitations, and a number of more specific issues that we addressed in our article here.
The Commission also today issued its latest statistics on ownership of broadcast stations, broken down to assess ownership by gender and minority status. Minority ownership and similar diversity issues have been a significant issue in assessing any changes in the multiple ownership rules (see, for instance, our article here about the FCC’s call in 2012 for an analysis of minority ownership in connection with its consideration of changes to the broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership prohibition). These new statistics may well play into some of the comments filed in the ownership proceeding. So have your comments ready by the new filing date that has just been set.