Unless there is a last-minute change of heart on Capitol Hill, which nobody was predicting last week, the omnibus budget bill agreed to by both sides of the aisle will grandfather, for 10 years, TV station joint sales agreements that would have violated tightened FCC rules. That is not exactly eliminating them, but as a practical matter it prevents a near-term unwinding and in terms of optics, does something perhaps even more important.
That vote, with the support of some Democrats who were not fans of the JSA move, should serve as a signal to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler that both sides of the aisle recognize that broadcasting is an important service that needs a helping hand, not the back of the hand, from government.
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