A bipartisan effort has been launched to force the FCC to eliminate the broadcast/newspaper cross-ownership ban that has been in effect since 1975.
The bill was introduced by incoming House Energy & Commerce Committee chair Greg Walden (R-OR) and Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) today to take action after the FCC failed to address the rule in its 2010/2014 quadrennial review this past summer. The National Association of Broadcasters announced its intention to sue the agency last month over the ban and lack of adjustments on the station ownership caps.
The ban was introduced in 1975 prohibiting the ownership of a daily newspaper and a “full-power broadcast station that serviced the same community” in order to prevent a single entity from becoming too powerful a single voice. Many companies have continued to have waivers such as Cox Media owning the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB-TV, and six radio stations in the Atlanta market.
NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith released the following statement in regard to the proposed bill:
“NAB applauds Chairman Walden, Rep. Yarmuth and their bipartisan cosponsors for introducing a bill to eliminate the broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership rule. This legislation is an important step towards aligning outdated broadcast ownership rules with Americans’ 21st century information needs. For too long, radio and television broadcasters have been saddled with archaic regulations preventing them from investing in newspaper ownership. Striking this cross-ownership ban would save journalism jobs, create more investigative reporting and provide communities with greater local news.”