NAB: Retaining Newspaper/TV Cross-Ownership Ban Untenable

Armed with colorful charts showing the decline of print readership and advertising, the National Association of Broadcasters Thursday was trying to convince the FCC to finally scrap the newspaper/broadcast crossownership ban.

That came in an ex parte submission to the commission.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has circulated a quadrennial media ownership review item that concludes the newspaper/crossownership ban is still necessary in the public interest, though he is proposing a failing paper waiver similar to the failing station waiver.

NAB said the rule is outdated and fails to serve the public interest. It calls the decision to retain it arbitrary and capricious, which would make it a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

Related: NAB FOIA's FCC Media Ownership Work Product

NAB also said the FCC needed to start counting competition from online news sources. "The FCC can no longer ignore the Internet’s transformative effects on the media marketplace and on consumers’ access to news and information," it said.

Even as NAB was citing statistics on declining newspaper audience, Pew Research released a report that found only two in 10 people "often" get their news from a print source. It also showed that while TV news remains the top choice for news consumers, younger demos more often get their news online.

NAB also pitched ditching the radio/TV crossownership rule, which Wheeler also proposed retaining.

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.