Quadrennial Broadcast Reg Review Comment Dates Set

The FCC has set comment dates on issues teed up in the 2018 Quadrennial Regulatory Review.

Comments are due April 29 and reply comments May 29.

The FCC is mandated by Congress to look at its broadcast ownership rules every four years to see if they remain "necessary in the public interest as a result of competition" and, if not, whether it should modify or eliminate them to reflect a changing media marketplace.

Related: FCC Launches Quadrennial Review

The FCC is also seeking comment on three diversity-related items it proposed in response to a court requirement that it consider diversity in its review of the regs.

The FCC had signaled when the Quadrennial Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was released Dec. 13 that the comment windows would be 60 and 90 days after publication in the Federal Register, which happened Feb. 28, triggering the April and May deadlines.

The rules up for review in the Quad are the local radio ownership limits, local TV ownership limits, and the dual-network rule that prevents one company from owning two of the major broadcast networks.

But it is an open-ended review with no tentative conclusions about what should or should not happen to those rules, though Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel disagreed with that assessment. 

The item asks whether the rules should remain, be modified, or eliminated.

The FCC will also review a trio of diversity-related proposals. They are on whether to extend the cable procurement EEO regs to broadcast, whether to identify a "tipping point" of source diversity in lieu of ownership rules and on trade-able diversity credits, all issues MMTC has raised.

Not part of the review are national ownership rules pertaining to the 39% cap on national audience reach or the UHF discount from that cap. The reason is that they were not among the rules the Congress requires it to review. They will continue to be reviewed on a parallel track.

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.