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Local Cable News Networks, FCC Style

WASHINGTON— The Federal Communications Commission has some suggestions to promote localism in gerrymandered Nielsen markets where viewers are getting news and local programming from out of state, rather than their own states — and one would be a new variation on a local cable news channel.

In a report concluding that remaking those Nielsen DMAs was not the answer, the FCC offered up a possible solution to the importation out-of-market programming. It’s one that would limit such content to the locally-produced, nonduplicative programming broadcasters have no trouble with — it’s the importing of audience-diluting duplicative syndicated and network content they oppose — but combine it in one place.

The FCC suggested MVPDs could negotiate for just the local content from several stations and aggregate it on one channel, or as a video-on-demand offering, “rather than carrying all of a station’s programming and facing the need to black out all but the relevant, nonduplicative local programming.”

The FCC also suggested offering over-the-top versions of local fare could be another options for TV stations.

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.