Could Radio’s Main Studio Rule Go Away?

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Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly has made it clear that one of his top priorities is to “remove outdated and unnecessary burdens imposed by the Commission.”


One of those “archaic” rules involve the Commission’s Main Studio Rule, and he’s ready to push forward his long-standing view that it should be “severely modified” or altogether eliminated.

Speaking on Tuesday afternoon at the Hispanic Radio Conference in Fort Lauderdale, O’Rielly returned to his argument that the Commission’s Main Studio Rule no longer makes sense.

“While the requirement can be waived for good cause, and often is waived for noncommercial stations, these waivers are hardly ever granted to commercial ones,” O’Rielly said. “It’s time to take another look at our approach to collocation proposals.”

Doing so could allow for cost savings that could make a real difference for some stations, he argued. At the same time, O’Rielly believes this also provides broadcasters “a security dividend” through more efficient channeling of public access.

Additionally, “the argument in favor of the restrictions has been significantly weakened in a time when people almost universally contact their radio stations by telephone, mail, or online,” O’Rielly noted. “Now that we are moving the public files maintained by broadcasters to the internet, the information the public would want to access will increasingly not be available in a physical format at the station’s studio. Our rules should reflect this reality and allow for greater station collocations.  The staffing requirements for these studios should likewise be updated.”