Each year, at about this time, we pull out the crystal ball and make predictions of the issues affecting broadcasters that will likely bubble up to the top of the FCC’s agenda in the coming year. While we try each year to throw in a mention of the issues that come to our mind, there are always surprises, and new issues that we did not anticipate. Sometimes policy decisions will come from individual cases, and sometimes they will be driven by a particular FCC Commissioner who finds a specific issue that is of specific interest to him or her. But here is our try at listing at least some of the issues that broadcasters should expect from Washington in the coming year. With so many issues on the table, we’ll divide the issues into two parts – talking about FCC issues today, and issues from Capitol Hill and elsewhere in the maze of government agencies and courts who deal with broadcast issues. In addition, watch these pages for our calendar of regulatory deadlines for broadcasters in the next few days.
So here are some issues that are on the table at the FCC – starting first with issues affecting all stations, then on to TV and radio issues in separate sections below.
General Broadcast Issues
There are numerous issues before the FCC that affect both radio and television broadcasters, some of which have been pending for many years and are ripe for resolution, while others are raised in proceedings that are just beginning. These include:
Multiple Ownership Rules Review: In April, the FCC finally addressed its long outstanding Quadrennial Review of the broadcast multiple ownership rules – essentially by punting most of them into the next Quadrennial Review, which probably won’t be resolved until 2016. Issues deferred include any revisions to the local ownership limits for radio or TV (such as loosening the ownership caps for TV stations in smaller markets, which the FCC tentatively suggested that they would not do), any revision to the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule (which the FCC tentatively suggested that they would consider – perhaps so that this rule can be changed before the newspaper becomes extinct), and questions about the attribution of TV Shared Services Agreements (which the FCC is already scrutinizing under an Interim Policy adopted by the Media Bureau).
Continue Reading What Washington Has in Store for Broadcasters in 2015 – Part 1, What’s Up at the FCC