Federal judges gave the Federal Communications Commission plenty of leeway to retain the 35 percent cap on a
broadcaster's national household reach, the National Association of Broadcasters and the Network Affiliated
Stations Alliance told agency chairman Michael Powell in a letter Monday.
On the other side of the issue are the major networks, which are fighting to
significantly raise or eliminate the cap.
"The court's decision invalidated the FCC's review of the rule, not the rule
itself," NAB president Eddie Fritts and NASA chairman Alan Frank wrote. The
court in question was a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., which criticized
the FCC in February for retaining the 35 percent cap without adequately justifying the
number but found that a limit on broadcast ownership is constitutional and
indicated a "high" probability of retaining the number.
The commission "can and should provide persuasive reasons for why retaining
the rule is in the public interest and furthers the goals of diversity,
localism, and competition," Fritts and Franks wrote.
They also offered to lobby Congress if the FCC wants lawmakers to ease a
burdensome biennial-review mandate that the court said requires the agency to
justify each of its rules every two years.
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