Ten members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation (nine Republicans, one Democrat) have asked the FCC to delay a vote to make some joint sales agreements (JSAs) attributable under ownership rules. That vote is currently scheduled for Monday morning (March 31). They also said that if the FCC does approve new rules, it should grandfather existing JSAs.
In a letter to the commission, they say the issue is better dealt with in Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA) legislation currently being vetted in Congress or a wider FCC review of media ownership rules.
At press time, the JSA item still did not grandfather existing JSAs that would violate FCC ownership caps under the new rule, but did give them two years to unwind.
In their letter, the legislators said that "retroactive application of the rules to transactions entered into in full compliance with laws, and already approved by the government is inconsistent with sound public policy and legal process." They also want any deals currently before the FCC to be treated according to existing laws, "not future ones."
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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.
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