A senior FCC official told reporters 3/6 that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will propose keeping current radio ownership limits in place, but he’s also planning to propose eliminating the radio-newspaper and radio-TV and cross-ownership ban, which would allow companies to own radio-TV and radio-newspaper combos in the same city. The Commission will begin its media ownership review for 2014 later this month.
We’re not sure what to think, because in December, Wheeler retracted a previous proposal to relax the ban.
We asked David Oxenford, Partner, Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer, LLP, what he makes of it: “It looks like the Commission is not necessarily proposing to eliminate the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule. Wheeler’s 3/6 blog post seems to say that the initial proposal for the new Quadrennial review is that the newspaper cross-ownership rule will be retained, but that they are asking for comment on whether and how it should be modified. So, instead of starting from a presumption that the rule is outdated, they seem to be starting from the presumption that it is still important, and asking if there should be changes that are made to it. As our only guidance is one line in the Chairman’s blog post today, we will have to wait to see the actual Notice on March 31 to see whether the FCC is presuming that the newspaper cross-ownership rule will be sticking around, or whether the presumption will be that it needs to be modified.”