U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Broadcast Ownership Case in January

It is ironic that as Chairman Pai leaves the FCC, the U.S. Supreme Court will finally hear oral arguments regarding the deregulation of broadcast ownership rules.  For 17 years the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked attempts by the FCC to deregulate some of its ownership rules.  Specifically before the court is the FCC’s quadrennial review which impacts the following rules:

  • Newspaper-broadcast cross ownership rules
  • Radio-TV cross-ownership rules
  • The rule limiting ownership of TV stations in local market
  • The Third Circuit’s previous decision effectively banning the joint sale of even modest amounts of advertising time by two same-market TV stations
  • Rules regarding imbedded markets
  • Creation of its diversity incubator program

The basis for the latest Third Circuits decision is that the FCC did not properly consider the impact on woman and minority ownership. Both the FCC and NAB disagreed and appealed the decision En banc to the full Third Circuit.  The Third Circuit declined to overturn the panel’s decision, and both the FCC and NAB went to the Supreme Court.

We hope the U.S. Supreme Court will end this 17 year roadblock.  The broadcast/communications marketplace has changed dramatically and it is time for the Court to recognize the new economic reality. We also hope the new FCC will take notice of these changes and continue its move to deregulate.

To see the NAB’s Press Release click HERE.

To see the NAB’s Supreme Court Brief click HERE.

To see the amicus brief filed by Gray Television Inc., click HERE.


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