WASHINGTON, DC - NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton released a statement today in response to actions taken today by the Federal Communications Commission. Notably, the FCC voted to modestly revise the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership ban, a rule introduced in 1975 that prevented a single company from owning both a newspaper and a broadcast station in the same market. The FCC also adopted a localism proposal, which could place additional regulatory burdens on local radio and television stations.
"We are pleased the FCC has adopted a revised newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule, recognizing that a 30-year-old complete ban is no longer justified. While we think the adopted changes are modest, we believe they are an important step forward in aligning broadcasting regulations with the realities of today's communications marketplace.
"We will also be reviewing closely the FCC's 'localism' proposal, a proceeding that carries grave First Amendment implications and which stems from a false notion that radio and television stations have abandoned our commitment to serving communities or have stopped offering distinctive local programming. From coast to coast, local broadcasters are saving lives every day with Amber Alerts, emergency weather warnings, and coverage of natural disasters. The record shows that broadcasters have an unmatched tradition of serving the public interest, and as the FCC found in the 1980s, onerous regulations can have the unintended consequence of reducing programming quality.
"We are confident that any truly objective localism analysis will vindicate the performance of radio and TV broadcasters, and overshadow the shrill voices of those who would regulate broadcasters back to the 1960s."
The National Association of Broadcasters is a trade association that advocates on behalf of more than 8,300 free, local radio and television stations and also broadcast networks before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the Courts. Information about NAB can be found at www.nab.org.