NABOB: FCC Should Delay Ownership Vote

The National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB)
has added its voice to the chorus of minority groups asking the FCC to delay a
vote on loosening the limits on newspaper/TV and radio/newspaper cross-ownership.

In a filing at the FCC, NABOB made it clear they were
against the rules, not just concerned they had not been sufficiently vetted for
their impact on minorities.

"Any relaxation of the FCC's ownership rules will
further the ongoing precipitous decline in minority broadcast ownership,"
the group said.

NABOB is also concerned the FCC has not adopted a definition
of "eligible entity" that will boost minority ownership.

"NABOB urges the commission to delay issuance of the
report and order in this proceeding until the Commission has adopted a policy
to promote minority ownership of broadcast facilities, as required by the U.S.
third Circuit Court of Appeals."

The court remanded the FCC's 2007 attempt to loosen the
newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rules back to the FCC for better
justification of a number of diversity initiatives that accompanied that
deregulatory effort.

NABOB says the court instructed the commission effectively
punted on justifying its regs until the next quadrennial reg review in 2014,
and thus cannot proceed with any changes because it "ignores" that
clear direction from the court.

"An order in this proceeding which continues the long
history of dawdling and delay that has characterized the commission's approach
to creating such a policy will send a very negative message to minority
communities and the Court of Appeals," NABOB said.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has already delayed a vote
until the beginning of January by extending the comment period on its
just-released 323 ownership report, which found little progress in boosting
minority media ownership. But his office has signaled that will be the extent
of the extension on a vote.

The chairman extended that comment period by 30 days after
the Minority Media & Telecommunications Counsel proposed such a
"lightning round" of additional comment and FCC commissioner Mignon
Clyburn asked the chairman for such an extension.

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.