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ACA: Station Consolidation Highlights Coordination Issues

In the latest volley over joint retrans negotiations, the American Cable Association has sent a letter to the FCC asking that it include the issue in its quadrennial media ownership review.

The request is not new, but there is a new chairwoman who may be in that post for several months. The FCC is already two years late in finishing its review of those rules.

In a June 3 letter, ACA highlighted a number of TV station deals that it says demonstrates the increasing consolidation in the TV marketplace and the "rising prevalence" of Big Four network affiliates coordinating their efforts, which ACA has long argued circumvents FCC local market ownership caps.

"In light of the significant increase in local television consolidation, it is now more vital than ever that the Commission take action in its pending media ownership review to clarify the legal bounds of permissible sharing arrangements under its broadcast ownership and affiliation rules, and in particular, prohibit separately owned, same market broadcasters from coordinating their retransmission consent negotiations," ACA said.

ACA wants the FCC to rule that joint sales and operating agreements are attributable interests under FCC ownership rules.