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SBA complains about vague FCC proposals

The Small Business Administration has criticized the Federal Communications Commission for launching a
rulemaking proceeding on radio ownership without actually proposing specific

The FCC's Nov. 9, 2001, notice of proposed rulemaking aimed at crafting new
measures of concentration in local radio markets "seeks extensive comment on
issue areas, rather than on specific proposals or tentative conclusions," wrote
officials from the SBA's Office of Advocacy.

The office is charged with reviewing all federal rules and assessing their
potential impact on small businesses.

Eric Menge, assistant chief counsel for telecommunications, said the
FCC's proceeding, which asked for public input on a range of radio-industry
conditions, did not provide sufficient information for his team to assess.

"The commission did not propose the actual terms or drafts of the proposed
rules," his office complained to the FCC in March 7 comments.

The SBA suggested that the commission change the current proceeding to a simple
notice of inquiry and issue a new rulemaking when it is ready to
offer specifics.

Saying proposal-less proposals are standard operating procedure for the FCC,
Menge added that his office has lodged complaints before.

Replies to previous SBA complaints have generally come from the FCC's Office
of Communications Business Opportunities, which pleads that it is powerless to
change the ways of the powerful agency industry bureaus that draft