The text of the FCC’s decision on the attribution of Joint Sales Agreements for multiple ownership purposes, and the termination of the 2010 Quadrennial Review of the ownership rules and the start of the 2014 Quadrennial Review, has now been released by the FCC.  In a slim 211 pages of text, plus another 24 pages of concurring and dissenting opinions, there is more than enough for broadcasters, lawyers and regulators to digest for weeks.  The Order addresses in detail the matters that had already been made public – the attribution of TV JSAs, the further examination of TV shared Services Agreements, and tentative decisions to not fundamentally change any of the Commission’s other ownership rules (with the possible exception of a favorable inclination to look at elimination of the radio-newspaper cross-ownership)(see our summary here).  But there are many details to be examined as to how the Commission reached the decisions that it did and the nuances of the decisions that were made (e.g. the waiver policy that would allow some JSAs to remain in place – the Commission’s decision does not provide much detail – essentially saying that they will grant waivers to deserving JSAs that serve the public interest, but providing little detailed guidance as to what would make a good waiver case, except to say that temporary or short-term waivers were better than long-term ones, and that ones where there was little sharing of other services are better than ones where there is more sharing).  We will cover all of these areas in more detail over the next few days.

But there were some interesting and less expected nuggets that popped out in a first read of the Order, and have not been much covered elsewhere.  For TV, these include the tentative decision to replace the TV Grade B contour with the digital Noise Limited Service Contour for determining whether an individual or entity can own two TV stations in the same market.  Instead of allowing ownership where the Grade B contours do not overlap, the Commission proposes to allow that ownership where the NLSC do not overlap, and to grandfather any combinations that would be affected by this rule change.  Similar small but significant issues were also raised for radio.
Continue Reading The Text of the FCC’s Order on JSAs and Other Broadcast Ownership Issues is Released – Part One, Hidden Nuggets on TV and Radio Market Definitions