Review of Broadcast Ownership Rules


Although its focus has been on other areas lately, the FCC has issued a Notice of Inquiry to explore revision of its broadcast ownership rules. Similar exercises that have been undertaken every four years since enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 resulted only in fine-tuning (and court rejection of a single bolder initiative). This time, citing “dramatic” and “profound” changes in the marketplace, a broader-based “fresh look” is promised, with “no preconceived notions” about the framework that may result or specific rules that may be adopted. Further impetus may arise from the Senate Commerce Committee’s recent interest in a possible rewrite of the Communications Act, numerous independent studies that the FCC is commissioning, and the impact of the FCC’s own broadband plan.

The Notice of Inquiry is quite extensive and poses hundreds of questions. Consequently, this memorandum attempts only an overview.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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