FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai addressed the NAB Radio Show in Dallas, and in the process made statements that were music to the ears of Bonneville International, the Scranton Times and the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council. Here’s what Pai’s fans had to say.
Bonneville and the Scranton Times were pleased at Pai’s support for eliminating cross-ownership restrictions. In a joint statement, they said, “We welcome Commissioner Pai’s statements at the NAB Radio Show regarding the elimination of the newspaper/radio cross-ownership rule. We hope that the full Commission will engage in a productive dialogue about this rule very soon, because in today’s digital media environment, it is particularly critical to the evolution and survival of daily newspapers. As we pointed out in our comments in the rulemaking, it is long past time to eliminate the newspaper/radio restraint. The 37-year-old rule makes no policy sense in the modern media arena, where virtually every newsgathering outlet, whether traditional or “new,” can and does reach all interested consumers online. In today’s economic environment, the restraint poses an unnecessary burden on the financial underpinnings of traditional newspapers.”
MMTC has long been a leading advocate of loosening restrictions on foreign investment in businesses built on possession of an FCC license, currently topped out at 25%. It welcomed Pai’s support for that measure, and said, “The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) commends and supports FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai for his endorsement of foreign ownership reform – a leading step that would help minority broadcasters secure access to capital and to new markets. Commissioner Pai announced his support today at the National Association of Broadcasters’ Radio Show. For nine years, MMTC and other organizations have been vocal about the antiquated nature of the FCC’s foreign ownership policies, which have remained essentially unchanged since they were originally written in 1912. Relaxation of the rules would provide new sources of capital for all broadcasters and, especially, minority broadcasters to grow their operations in this country. Further, due to international reciprocity, foreign ownership reform would open many overseas markets for American broadcasters who specialize in serving multiethnic and multilingual populations. The proposal has been endorsed by an unprecedented coalition of 50 national organizations – virtually all of the civil rights, media, professional, and trade organizations – in joint comments filed in the FCC’s media ownership proceeding this April. MMTC is very appreciative of Commissioner Pai for standing up to ensure that all Americans have an opportunity to participate in the nation’s most influential industry.”