The Newspaper Broadcast Cross-Ownership Rule is Finally Dead – And More Ownership Rule Changes – Including for Radio – Are to be Considered
Last Friday, the FCC took two actions on broadcast ownership resulting from the recent Supreme Court decision (about which we wrote here) upholding changes to the ownership rules that the FCC adopted in 2017. Those 2017 changes (summarized here) and any additional changes to the rules, including changes to the radio ownership rules that have not been substantially reviewed since 1996, have been held up by the 2019 decision of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. That Court reversed the FCC’s 2017 decision which had relaxed many ownership rules, notably including the abolition of the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule and some of the local television ownership restrictions.
The Third Circuit found that the FCC had done an inadequate job of assessing the impact of the 2017 changes (and past ownership changes) on the diversity of broadcast ownership. Until such a historical review could be conducted, all FCC ownership proceedings were put on hold. This hold was finally lifted by the Supreme Court’s decision reversing the Third Circuit and reinstating the 2017 FCC decision. On Friday, the FCC issued an Order that formally reinstated the rules that had been overturned by the Third Circuit and also took some tentative steps toward restarting its regular review of broadcast ownership rules, including the local radio ownership rules that were largely unaffected by the 2017 FCC rule changes. The FCC issued a Public Notice that asked for an update on comments they filed on the 2018 Quadrennial Review of the ownership rules (see our article here) in 2019.
Continue Reading FCC Implements Supreme Court Order Reinstating 2017 Ownership Rule Changes, and Asks for Updating of Record of 2018 Quadrennial Review