Here’s Another Challenge To FCC Cross-Ownership Rules


The NAB and Prometheus Radio Project just gained another source of support in their respective quests to have the nation’s judicial system tell the FCC that its 41-year-old media cross-ownership rules are an outdated symbol of days of yore.

The News Media Alliance, the main newspaper and digital news media industry association, on Monday (11/14) filed an appeal of the FCC’s” inexplicable decision” to keep in place media ownership rules that prevent a television or radio station from being co-owned with a newspaper in the same market.

“After 41 years of abiding by a rule that has long outlived its purpose, we have been forced to fight the FCC’s decision in court,” said David Chavern, President/CEO of the News Media Alliance.  “Our industry provides long-term investigative journalism and local news and public affairs coverage that is intensely important to local communities.  It makes no sense at all to prevent newspapers from helping to fund this essential activity by receiving capital and collaboration by an aligned industry such as broadcasting.”

News Media Alliance further assailed the Commission for making a “rushed determination without any reliable evidence, and made its decision in a highly politicized and questionable process.”

The case is News Media Alliance v. Federal Communications Commission, filed November 14, 2016, in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  The Alliance notes in its filing that it will not oppose a transfer of the appeal to the Third Circuit, which has heard prior appeals in this area.

That’s positive news for the NAB, which on Monday followed through with the previously reported news that it would file a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging the FCC’s media ownership order as “arbitrary and capricious.”

“National Association of Broadcasters v. Federal Communications Commission” is Case No. 16-1394.

The NAB has also been vocal in its opposition to the continuation of the 41-year-old media cross-ownership rules. Jerianne Timmerman, Senior Deputy General Counsel for the NAB, took to the industry lobbying association’s blog on Nov. 1 to elucidate on why the FCC’s ownership rules remain stuck in 1975.

The rules, which were left largely intact in a 3-2 party-line vote conducted in August, were designed to maintain “viewpoint diversity” by continuing the prohibition of a newspaper from entering into a merger acquisition with a radio or TV station in the same market.