NAB Sues FCC Over Quadrennial Review

As expected, the National Association of Broadcasters is suing the FCC over its Quadrennial Media Ownership review and what NAB sees as its failure to take needed deregulatory steps and failure to justify that decision.

NAB filed in the D.C. federal appeals court, but said it has no objection to the case being heard in the Third Circuit, which has been dealing with media ownership challenges for more than a decade and would not file an objection.

Related: Newspapers Sue FCC Over Media Ownership Decision

NAB says the FCC unlawfully merged its 2010 and 2014 Quadrennial reviews and that what it produced ignores obvious changes to the market since the last review and refuses to repeal or modify ownership rules in light of those changes. NAB says the decision is arbitrary and capricious, which means it is a violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.

The FCC readopted its limits on joint sales agreements after the Third Circuit told it its initial March 2014 tightening should not have been done before the quadrennial review of the marketplace.

Related: NAB's Smith—Election Is Media's Moment of Self-Reckoning

NAB is also challenging that part of the decision, as well as the preservation of the newspaper-broadcast crossownership rule.

"[T]he Commission has left broadcasters to labor under outdated and unnecessary restrictions (as well as new restrictions and other obligations) that harm their ability to compete and indeed survive in today's digital media marketplace."

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.