FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has a friend in TEGNA President/CEO Dave Lougee.
With 46 television stations in 38 markets, the company formerly known as Gannett prior to the spin-off of its newspapers voiced his support of Pai’s proposal that “modernizes” broadcast media ownership rules.
Of course, TEGNA stands to benefit from the rule revisions — and could bring Gannett back in to TEGNA, creating one large company all over again.
“We commend Chairman Pai for acknowledging the realities of the modern video and media marketplace, and for planning updates to broadcast ownership rules enacted in the last century before the internet became ubiquitous,” Lougee said.
He added that “localism and local journalism will be greatly enhanced” by allowing broadcast station owners to combine resources.
“Our local consumers will benefit if stations have the scale necessary to compete with massive distribution and technology companies who don’t share our local values and mandates,” Lougee said.
His comments are among the first from publicly traded broadcast TV companies to be shared with the public. However, it is widely believed that Pai’s plans have the unanimous support of the companies actively in the broadcast and print media industries.
Lougee’s statement also comes as the FCC at its November Open Meeting will also vote on the approval of the next-generation TV standard — ATSC 3.0.
Although the November 2017 Open Meeting Agenda was not yet made public as of 3:30pm Eastern, RBR+TVBR has confirmed that the item will be up for a vote by the FCC, by way of a blog posting from Pai. It is expected to be approved.
According to Reuters, the voluntarily implementation of ATSC 3.0 would come with the simulcasting of current ATSC 1.0 signals for at minimum five years. This would prevent consumers from losing broadcast TV signals on current TVs, which will need replacement as the new broadcast signals are rolled out.