The FCC has released its agenda for its December 18 meeting – and it promises to be one of the most important,and potentially most contentious, in recent memory. On the agenda is the Commission’s long awaited decision on the Chairman’s broadcast multiple ownership plan relaxing broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership rules (see our summary here). Also, the FCC will consider a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Localism issues (pending issues summarized here) following the conclusion of its nationwide hearings on the topic, as well as an Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on initiatives to encourage broadcast ownership by minorities and other new entrants (summary here). For cable companies, the Commission has scheduled a proposed order on national ownership limits. And, in addition to all these issues on ownership matters, the FCC will also consider revising its sponsorship identification rules to determine if new rules need to be adopted to cover "embedded advertising", i.e. product placement in broadcast programs. All told, these rules could result in fundamental changes in the media landscape.
The broadcast ownership items, dealing with broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership, localism and diversity initiatives, all grow out of the Commission’s attempts to change the broadcast ownership rules in 2003. That attempt was largely rejected by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which remanded most of the rules back to the FCC for further consideration, including considerations about their impact on minority ownership. The localism proceeding was also an outgrowth of that proceeding, started as an attempt by the Commission to deal with consolidation critics who felt that the public had been shut out of the process of determining the rules in 2003, and claiming that big media was neglecting the needs and interests of local audiences.Continue Reading FCC Meeting Agenda for December 18 – Potentially One of the Most Important in Recent Memory – Multiple Ownership, Localism, Minority Ownership, Product Placement and Cable TV National Ownership Caps