The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) asked the DC Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday to overturn a March 12 public notice in which the FCC provided guidance on the processing of assignment and transfer of control applications that involve shared service agreements (SSAs) and similar arrangements among television broadcasters. The notice targeted in the NAB complaint closely preceded the adoption of a March 31 Report and Order in which the FCC deemed joint sales agreements (JSAs) among television broadcasters to be attributable ownership interests unless such broadcasters prove to the FCC that the JSAs in question serve the public interest. Although the NAB and its members have also protested the March 31 order, Monday’s petition concerns only the public notice issued by the FCC on March 12. (Because the March 31 order has not yet been published in the Federal Register, an appeal of that ruling is considered premature at this time.) Hinting that broadcasters are increasingly using SSAs, JSAs and similar arrangements as a means of circumventing the FCC’s media ownership limits, the agency declared in the March 12 notice that it would “closely scrutinize” any broadcast assignment or transfer application through which two or more stations in the same market would “enter into arrangements to share facilities, employees, and/or services or to jointly acquire programming or sell advertising” and that also includes “an option, right of first refusal, put/call arrangements, or similar contingent interest.” The FCC further decreed that it would “evaluate how any such arrangements operate and the incentives they create.” Terming the FCC’s actions as “arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion,” the NAB charged the FCC with issuing policy guidance without first seeking stakeholder input in compliance with the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act. The NAB also argued that SSAs, JSAs and similar arrangements among broadcasters “help sustain a competitive free and local television station business model in the face of competitive challenges from national pay television platform.” As such, NAB advised the court: “this categorical presumption against the covered transactions operates as a practical prohibition that adversely affects NAB and its member broadcasters whose interests it represents by rendering previously legitimate transactions presumptively invalid.”