FCC Extends Deadline for Opposing Broadcaster Quadrennial Challenge

The FCC will give opponents to broadcasters' challenge to its quadrennial review of media ownership rules more time to make their case against it in reply comments but not nearly as long as they had asked for. 

After the FCC, in a politically divided vote, decided to leave most media ownership rules intact, the National Association of Broadcasters, Nexstar and Connoisseur Media petitioned the FCC to reconsider that decision.

The initial comment deadline for oppositions was Jan. 17, per the fact that the FCC's notice of the broadcaster challenge was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 30, which triggered that deadline. That set the reply comment deadline at Jan. 24, which the FCC later extended to Jan. 27.

Prometheus Radio Project and Media Mobilizing Project asked for a 30-day extension to Feb. 16 for oppositions and Feb. 24 for replies, citing time lost over the holidays and the upcoming transition to new leadership after Jan. 20.

NAB opposed that extension, saying that delay would not serve the public interest.

The Media Bureau said Wednesday that it would extend the deadlines not by 30 days but by a week, to Jan. 24 and Feb. 3, respectively.

"[T]he Media Bureau finds that the need to develop a full and complete record in response to the petitions provides good cause for waiving the Commission’s rule to allow for additional time.  However, we do not believe that the full extension of time requested by the Movants is necessary."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.