Broadcasters hit back on ownership rules

Radio and TV broadcasters issued a formal rebuke to the Federal Communications Commission’s restrictions on company ownership.

The FCC should “recognize and come to grips” with the changes that have taken place in the media market over the last eight years, the National Association of Broadcasters said in comments submitted on Wednesday.

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“In light of the tectonic shift in the media landscape, nearly every one of the broadcast ownership rules needs updating,” it added.

Among those are rules banning one company from owning two of the top four TV stations in a market and preventing a broadcaster from owning a local newspaper. Both of those should be seriously amended to deal with the current market, the broadcast trade group said. 

New technologies have made it increasingly difficult for broadcasters to stay competitive, it added. And those restrictions have made it harder for women and minorities to take control of stations, as the FCC has expressed an interest in.

“Local broadcast stations remain an essential part of the communications landscape — but they are no longer the dominant medium that they were decades ago,” the group said.

The FCC is currently accepting comments for a review of its media ownership rules. The commission is four years late on its scheduled 2010 review of the rules, and is rolling that analysis in with the planned 2014 review.