FCC Proposes Incentivizing Local Broadcast Programming

FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel speaks at NAB Show 2023
FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel (Image credit: JohnStaleyPhoto.com)

Broadcasters have long argued that one of the reasons they are a must-have medium is their local news programming. Federal Communications Commission chair Jessica Rosenworcel is proposing to recognize — and incentivize — those efforts.

Rosenworcel has proposed prioritizing the license application reviews of stations producing local programming.

“There’s something special about when you hear a local voice on the airwaves or see a familiar face on your television set in the evening,” Rosenworcel said in announcing the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). "Over time, we’ve come to trust those voices and they provide an important service to these communities. We want to recognize that dedication when it comes time for license renewals and transactions and this proposal does just that.”

The priority would apply to both TV and radio stations that provide locally originated programming.

Every eight years, the FCC reviews the licenses of TV and radio stations to ensure they are still operating in the public interest. One of those interests is local news and information programming.

Another way broadcasters say the government could incentivize more local news programming would be to allow them to collectively negotiate for online aggregation of their valuable content by Big Tech

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.