The FCC’s proceeding on its multiple ownership rules, adopting rules that make Joint Sales Agreements “attributable” (meaning that they “count” for multiple ownership purposes – one TV station can’t do one with another unless it can own that other station) and starting a new proceeding to review its other ownership rules, was adopted in late March. Today, notice of these decisions was published in the Federal Register, setting the effective date for the new JSA attribution rule and the date for comments in its new proceeding. The new JSA rule is effective June 19, giving parties in JSAs two years to terminate their existing relationships (or to get FCC approval through a public interest waiver for a continuation of the JSA). Comments on the broader ownership proceeding are due on July 7 with replies on August 4.
We wrote about the FCC’s decision in this matter here, and on some of the issues up for comment in the new Quadrennial ownership proceeding here. The new proceeding will again look at broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership – starting from a presumption that the newspaper-radio ownership ban might be able to be lifted, while the TV-newspaper ban is still in the public interest. Attribution of TV shared services agreements is also on the table, as are various other ownership rules and clarifications. We will try to write in more detail about some of these issues in the near future but, for now, start thinking of comments that you might want to submit before the July 7 deadline. The proceeding is sure to generate some fireworks!