FCC taking a close look at localism


The Commission earlier moved to impose localism requirements on television stations, requiring submission of a standardized form quarterly detailing various elements of local programming. It is now looking at extending these requirements to radio. Other items mentioned in a notice of proposed rulemaking include processing guidelines for broadcast renewal applications; asking broadcasters to establish consumer advisory boards; using leased access to provide increased opportunities for local programming; allowing AM stations to use FM translators to increase local service; further facilitation of LPFM and assisting would be LPFM operators to find available spectrum for LPFM; upgrading certain LPTVs to Class A status; review the adequacy of sponsorship identification requirements, particularly concerning embedded and placed advertising; and in deference to concerned about access to airwaves of local musicians, it seeks commentary how playlists are compiled and possible guidelines on playing local artists.

The Democratic commissioners liked this proceeding, but thought it should have been placed ahead of the cross-ownership item and expressed doubts that there would be any meaningful follow-up. Robert McDowell, on the other hand, said that the item goes entirely in the wrong direction, and that local competition, not government mandate, is the driver of superior local content.

The Commission also agreed to cap national MPVD service providers to no more than 30% of total subscribers.