FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has proposed the most reasonable of actions: repealing or revising 40-year-old media ownership rules that long ago outlived any marginal usefulness they might’ve once had.
This should be a no-brainer. But, Washington being what it is, entrenched interests and politicians bent on maintaining the status quo for their own purposes have pilloried Pai for trying to do something that should’ve been done decades ago.
First, the facts. On Oct. 26, Chairman Pai released an Order on Reconsideration and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. This proceeding seeks to accomplish the following:
- Eliminate the Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership Rule;
- Eliminate the Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Rule; and
- Revise the Local Television Rule to eliminate the Eight-Voices Test and to incorporate a case-by-case review provision in the Top Four Prohibition.
The proceeding would also seek to eliminate the attribution rule for television Joint Sales Agreements; retain the disclosure requirement for commercial television Shared Services Agreements; keep the Local Radio Ownership Rule; and create an incubator program to encourage new and diverse voices in the broadcast industry.