FCC grants open-ended cross-ownership waivers


FCCThe clock is ticking down, or so we’ve been led to believe, on the quadrennial review of broadcast ownership rules. And with that in mind, the FCC asked owners of cross-owned print and broadcast properties to reapply for waivers.

However, nothing about the new rules has been made public. So even though we know that the owners need to act on the new rules, they have no idea what those rules are going to be.

Therefore, they have asked for an extension on the filing deadline for an updated waiver request, beyond the 9/27/12 deadline the FCC set last month.

They argue that any attempt to file in the blind would constitute a waste of resources for the companies AND the FCC.

The FCC agreed. “Given the importance of the issues and the pendency of the media ownership quadrennial review, however, we believe that it is appropriate to grant Media Parties’ request. Granting this extension of time will ensure that Media Parties’ supplemental filings can address the issues relevant to the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule that is adopted in that pending proceeding.”

The ruling: “Accordingly, we will grant Media Parties’ request and extend the filing deadline until 60 days after the release of an order in the ongoing media ownership quadrennial review that adopts a final newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule.”

RBR-TVBR observation: We called for an open-ended waiver for this proceeding years ago – instead, every quarter, the FCC extended blanket waivers for another quarter. If nothing else, it gave this publication a perennial story that could almost be run verbatim over and over again, four times a year.

Now, the FCC will be able to run this proceeding into the 2020s without have to waste virtual paper and ink on another quarterly cross-ownership waiver update.