Yesterday, we previewed the FCC’s likely decision to significantly change its ownership rules for television owners – proposing to take actions including allowing TV duopolies in markets with fewer than 8 independent TV voices after the combination, allowing some combination of the Top 4 TV stations in certain markets, repealing the radio-TV cross-ownership rules, and repealing the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership prohibitions. The FCC has now released the draft of the order to be considered at its meeting next month. It is available here.

Also on the tentative agenda (here) for the November meeting is the approval of the new standard for broadcast television – ATSC 3.0. The draft order would allow a voluntary transition to the new standard, with those TV stations that decide to convert being required to find a partner station in most cases so that viewers will be able to see the 3.0 station’s primary programming in the current ATSC 1.0 standard for at least 5 years. LPTV and TV translators would be exempt from this partnering obligation. The draft order is available here. We will provide more details on that draft order in the near future.

These items will be voted on by the Commission on November 16. They are controversial, so expect to see much debate on these items between now and the November meeting, and probably at the meeting itself.