NAB highly critical of FCC ownership moves


The National Association of Broadcasters filed comments with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on the latest go-around of Prometheus v. FCC, arguing that in numerous ways, the FCC’s approach to broadcast ownership regulation has been arbitrary and capricious.

“This Court cannot uphold the Commission’s failure to meaningfully review its outdated broadcast ownership restrictions. The Commission has made conclusory assertions, contradicted itself, changed course without explanation, failed to consider important aspects of the problem it faced, failed to respond to significant comments, and acted contrary to the evidence. Given these problems, it is unsurprising that the Commission’s order does not pass muster under the Administrative Procedure Act, which forbids arbitrary and capricious agency action, or under § 202(h), which requires the Commission to repeal or modify any rule no longer in the public interest and to justify any decision to retain a rule.”

NAB argued that there were aspects of the deregulatory effort made by the Michael Powell FCC back in 2003 that weren’t satisfactorily justified, and that most of the good moves Powell attempted have since been abandoned.

NAB believes television duopoly rules and definitions are in serious need of revamping, taking into account competitive realities; that both print/broadcast and radio/television cross-ownership rules need to be reconsidered and opened up; and that local radio ownership caps need to be loosened up.

After making its argument, NAB summed up: “For the foregoing reasons, this Court should vacate the local television ownership rule and, at a minimum, remand the other ownership rules for the Commission to further consider repealing or reducing their restrictions.”

The full filing can be found here: