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NAB: FCC Maintaining Crossownership Ban Is Inexplicable

The National Association of Broadcasters says it has filled the FCC's quadrennial media ownership review docket with numerous examples of the "challenges" faced by newspapers, including declining ad revenues and even the fate of sidewalk newspaper boxes.

In its latest filing at the FCC this week, the National Association of Broadcasters said that on that evidence of continuing newspaper challenges, an outright ban on crossownership "becomes increasingly inexplicable."

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It is trying to convince the FCC to change course and eliminate the newspaper-broadcast crossownership rules. The FCC is proposing a variation of its current failing-station waiver for failing newspapers. But the ban would remain—and that despite the fact that FCC chairs from both parties have in the past conceded the rule is no longer necessary. Keeping the ban, says NAB, can only hasten the demise of print and can hardly be in the public interest.

But the Democratic majority has voted not to eliminate the ban, and that will be the result unless the Republicans can convince the majority to adjust the item in the next couple of weeks.

NAB's latest filing is a story about the New York Times emphasizing digital over its print product.

"To the extent that Commission’s rationale for restricting print newspaper ownership relates to viewpoint diversity or independent 'voices,” NAB told the FCC, "a newspaper that has closed its doors can no longer provide a viewpoint or serve as a 'voice.'"