The FCC Blocks Local ABC, CBS, FOX, & NBC Owners’ Attempt to Relax Ownership Rules Reducing Competition





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This week the FCC announced that it will not change rules that would have allowed for one company to own multiple ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC broadcast TV stations in the same market.

At issue here are the FCC rules limiting any organization from owning more than one of the top four TV networks in a single market. For example, one company cannot own both a FOX affiliate and an ABC affiliate in the same market. Now, local TV station owners, along with the NAB, want the FCC to change these rules to allow TV stations to own multiple big four TV stations in the same market. But the FCC will not change these rules:

“For decades, the Federal Communications Commission has had rules that limit the number of broadcast stations a single entity can own. This approach is a product of the Communications Act and the values in the law that have always informed our approach to media policy—support for localism, competition, and diversity of ownership. These values support jobs and journalism. They are important,” FFC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement.

TV station owners can own more than one TV station in the same market, but not more than one of the big four.

Historically, the FCC has tried to create competition in each market. In 1975, for example, the FCC banned owning a daily newspaper and a television or radio station in the same local market. This was done to prevent one owner from controlling the news in a single market. Now, with the Internet and thousands of options for news and information, many believe these rules are dated and hurt local news.

Recently, many small local TV stations have been bought by larger companies. With this ruling, it will be more difficult for large TV stations to group together in the same markets.

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