FCC runs out of patience


We guess this FCC proceeding has been a dragged-out affair. Just looking at the title of it: The 2006 Quadrennial Regulatory Review of the 2002 Biennial Regulatory Review of Broadcast Ownership Rules and a Whole Bunch of Other Related Stuff (OK, we mangled the title, but it does in fact eat up over half of any page the FCC releases on the topic). Anyway, the FCC has been trolling for comments one way or another on the most recent post-remand attempt at proceeding with the proceeding since 7/24/06. It has extended the period for comments many times, and the deadline was back at the beginning of the month with reply comments due today (10/16/07).

A coalition of organization known as Diversity and Competition Supporters have asked for a further extension, in particular because they claim a number of broadcast companies would like to comment on DCS’s proposals to increase minority and female ownership of broadcast properties. The National Association of Broadcasters has filed in support of the DCS request.

The FCC isn’t going for it this time. It said many of these proposals have been in the public record for over a year, and that anyone wishing to comment has had ample time to do so. In other words, the Commission believes it has assembled "a complete record upon which to base Commission decisions" and will honor its other responsibility, to act on its responsibilities in a timely manner.

RBR observation: Most people with knowledge of this issue seem to agree that reviving the tax credit with makes it more attractive to sell a broadcast property to a socially disadvantaged business is one of the best tools available. That is not a matter for the FCC, it is a matter for Congress. Charles Rangel (D-NY) has been one of the more recent legislators to bring the matter up, and John McCain (R-AZ) has been known to back it in the Senate. Maybe with your help, your own representatives will help bring it back to life.