NAB Chairman David Rehr has sent a letter to every member of the House Appropriations Committee urging them to remove language inserted in an appropriations bill for fiscal year 2009 which would block the FCC from implementing its revised crossownership rule, which would allow a single owner to have both a daily newspaper and a broadcast station – but only in the 20 largest markets.
“There is no reason to rescind this modest reform of the FCC’s complete prohibition on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership. First, the ban – adopted in 1975 and never reformed – is outdated. In fact, a reviewing court has previously agreed with the FCC that newspaper/broadcast combinations can promote local service and that a complete prohibition on newspaper/broadcast combinations is not necessary to protect diversity,” Rehr told the lawmakers.
He noted that the FCC was merely following its obligation under law to review its regulations every four years and determine whether its rules were still “necessary in the public interest as the result of competition.” And Rehr said there are numerous studies which support reform of the crossownership rule. He urged the lawmakers to reject the language which would stop the crossownership reform. He called it an outdated restriction “that harms local service and discriminatorily applies to free, over-the-air broadcast stations but not to their competitors.”