As we wrote here, the FCC has requested comments on a petition for reconsideration of the elimination of the UHF discount – which had counted UHF stations as reaching only half of their market in assessing an owner’s compliance with the National Ownership Rules for TV. These rules limit an attributable owner from having an interest in TV stations that reach more than 39% of the national television audience. Given that the deadlines that had initially been published by the Commission fell during the holidays, the FCC has extended the time to file comments. Comments are now due on January 10, with replies on January 23.
As we wrote in our previous article on the reconsideration petition, this may be the first opportunity for the new Republican-controlled FCC to reconsider an ownership decision made earlier this year – a decision to which the two Republican commissioners dissented. So the industry will be watching to see what the new Commission does as an indication of how it will deal with many of the rules adopted by the Democratic-controlled FCC, and how quickly it will act as an indication of what an interim Republican chairman is willing to tackle before a permanent chairman is nominated and approved by the Senate.