Broadcasters sue FCC over collusion crackdown

Broadcasters are suing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over its new guidance to keep broadcasters from sharing resources.

The agency’s new rules are “arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion,” the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) wrote in a filing to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday.

ADVERTISEMENT
In March, the FCC's Media Bureau said that it would begin looking at the deals broadcasters make with one another to share advertising sales and other resources.

The agency prohibits companies from owning more than one of the top four broadcast stations in any market.

Critics of the resource-sharing arrangements say the deals allowed broadcasters to skirt ownership rules, but broadcasters defend the arrangements, saying they enabled them to work more efficiently and criticizing the agency’s change in policy.

In its Monday filing, the NAB asked the D.C. District Court of Appeals to strike down the new guidance.

The Bureau's guidance "operates as a practical prohibition" on these resource-sharing arrangements, the NAB wrote.

It "abandons longstanding precedent" and “adversely affects NAB and the member broadcasters whose interest it represents by rendering previously legitimate transactions presumptively invalid," the group said.

Updated at 4:14 p.m.