The FCC has begun its statutorily mandated 2022 Quadrennial Review of its media ownership rules, and is asking for comments on the Local Radio Ownership, Local Television Ownership, and Dual Network rules.
The Local Radio Ownership Rule and Local Television Ownership Rule limit the number of broadcast stations in a market in which a single entity can have a cognizable interest. The Dual Network Rule effectively prohibits mergers among the four largest television networks. Under the current Dual Network Rule, a television station can affiliate with an entity that maintains two or more networks of television broadcast stations, unless it involves a merger of any of the “big four” networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC).
The Communications Act requires the FCC to review its multiple ownership rules every four years and determine if the rules remain necessary in the public interest as a result of competition. Therefore, the FCC asks commenters to address the impact of these rules on competition and whether they continue to serve the public interest. The FCC asks for information about the current media marketplace and ongoing media trends, and whether policy goals other than competition, localism, and diversity should be considered in relation to the rules.
In the Public Notice announcing the 2022 Quadrennial Review, the FCC acknowledged that its 2018 Quadrennial Review is still pending. In 2021, the FCC asked interested parties to update the record in the 2018 Review because of changes in the rules implemented as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in FCC v. Prometheus Radio Project.
Comments are due March 3, 2023, and reply comments are due March 20, 2023.
If you have questions about the media ownership rules, or want to submit comments, please contact an attorney in our Media practice group.