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FCC Chief Backs Ownership Delay Request

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski today gave his support to a request by the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council to delay the commission's review of its ownership rules until MMTC can submit a study on possible impacts of changes. "In this heavily-litigated area where a strong record is particularly important, I believe this is a sensible approach to moving forward and resolving the issues raised in this proceeding," Genachowski said.
TVNewsCheck,

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski today endorsed a request by the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council to put on temporary hold a review of agency broadcast ownership rules to clear the way for a council-sponsored study of what impact the agency’s crossownership regulations  have on minority ownership and newsgathering.

“In this heavily-litigated area where a strong record is particularly important, I believe this is a sensible approach to moving forward and resolving the issues raised in this proceeding,” Genachowski said in an FCC news release this afternoon.

MMTC made its formal request in a letter to the FCC yesterday. The MMTC said it has hired BIA/Kelsey to conduct the study and promised to deliver it to the FCC within two months in the hope that the agency would ask for a round of public comments on it — a process that could take another month or so.

While the principal focus of the study, which will further delay action on the FCC’s long-running ownership reform proceeding, will be on advertising, the study will also explore the possible "adverse impact" of relaxed ownership limits on the ability of minority- and women-owned stations to gather and present news, MMTC said.

The MMTC, headed by David Honig, said the study will be aimed at determining "whether the presence of grandfathered newspaper-broadcast and radio-TV ownership operations materially harms minority- and women-owned stations, taking into consideration the experiences of other stations in the same markets."

In the FCC’s news release, Genachowski made no mention of a controversial agency proposal under which joint sales agreements for which more than 15% of the advertising time is sold by the dominant station would have to be unwound within two years or the stations counted as jointly owned.

MMTC’s Honig has suggested that the agency defer consideration of the JSA issue until at least 2014 to reduce the heat being generated over the agency’s media ownership rule package.

In the FCC news release today, Genachowski confirmed that his proposed changes in media ownership restrictions would remove the bar on crossownership of radio stations and newspapers altogether, and would “reduce the bar to smaller TV station-newspaper combinations in the top 20 markets.”

“The [MMTC] study ... addresses an issue of importance, will augment the record, and will assist the commission in resolving the issues before it on the full record,” Genachowski said in the release.

The National Association of Broadcasters said in a letter to the FCC yesterday that it had reviewed MMTC’s letter and “agrees that there is potential merit in additional data-gathering regarding minority ownership. Accordingly, NAB does not oppose MMTC’s suggestion that the commission defer action in the above-referenced proceedings pending its review of the results of MMTC’s study. Such a brief deferral, however, should not lead to additional lengthy delay in the resolution of the already overdue quadrennial review proceeding.”

In addition, the Newspaper Association of America also said it supported MMTC‘s request. Its letter to the FCC said: “ The NAA is confident that the study will demonstrate that the commission’s modest proposal to loosen crossownership rules would not harm minority ownership. Upon completion of the study, the commission should vote immediately on the proposal and provide the regulatory relief that is necessary for new investments in local journalism.”

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Ratings

Overnights, adults 18-49 for September 22, 2016
  • 1.
    4.0/14
  • 2.
    1.7/6
  • 3.
    1.3/5
  • 4.
    0.9/3
  • 5.
    0.6/2
  • 6.
    0.3/1
Source: Nielsen

Reviews

  • Rob Owen

    Easily fall’s best broadcast network comedy pilot, NBC’s The Good Place offers a clever high-concept premise that’s complemented with intelligent, sometimes absurdist humor. Created by Michael Schur, co-creator of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, The Good Place is a highly serialized series that’s essentially set in heaven and stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. NBC made five episodes of The Good Place available for review, and the show not only holds up, but also it improves, deepening characters that initially feel one-note and frequently leaving viewers guessing with cliffhanger endings to many of the episodes. The combination of snappy dialogue and winning but flawed characters makes The Good Place a great bet for fans of smart TV comedy.

  • Maureen Ryan

    Pitch has swagger, for good reason. It gets the big things right; the Fox drama about the first female baseball player in the Major Leagues is one of the year’s most assured and exciting debuts. But part of what impresses about the pilot is also the way it confidently strings together so many small but telling details. Ginny (Kylie Bunbury) is the first woman to be called up from the minors to the big leagues, and no show since Friday Night Lights has done a better job of portraying the internal and external pressures that weigh heavily on young athletes asked to do much more than merely succeed on the field. Pitch will likely do a good job of getting viewers to root for it. The hope is that the show won’t be an impressive, short-lived curiosity, but rather a long-term phenomenon.

  • Kevin Fallon

    In a fall TV season that’s already making a splash for championing diverse, distinctive voices in an array of projects that they created, wrote, and starred in, Better Things on FX stands out. The show is created by, written by, and starsPamela Adlon. She plays Sam Fox, the single mother of three daughters modeled after her own reality-show-ready experience raising three girls in Los Angeles following a divorce. Sam is also, like Adlon, a working actress — on shows both raunchy, a la Californication, and animated for children, like her role on Recess. It’s a refreshingly blunt take on single motherhood without sacrificing the warmth of parental love, portraying the dance between selfishness and selflessness that’s at the heart of being a parent — especially one weathering the hormonal fireworks of a household of four women at different ages.

  • David Wiegand

    The fall TV season doesn’t count as much as it used to — we already know that. But no matter how many retreads the broadcast networks throw at viewers in the next few months, this fall will be memorable because of the premiere of Atlanta on Tuesday, Sept. 6, on FX. The half-hour comedy created by and starring Donald Glover (Community), simply and brilliantly recalibrates our expectations of what a TV comedy is and how black lives are portrayed on the medium.

  • Louisa Ada Seltzer

    The second reboot of the 1980s John Candy movie Uncle Buck, bumped by ABC from midseason, has the same tired jokes you'll find on any second-rate sitcom. Too bad, because Mike Epps is appealing and ABC would be wise to keep him around for future shows, but there’s just not enough to this show to suggest it will last past summer. It also airs against NBC’s America’s Got Talent, summer’s No. 1 program on broadcast, which may make it even harder to find an audience.

  • Neil Genzlinger

    Bryan Cranston brings his Tony Award-winning interpretation of President Lyndon B. Johnson to television in an adaptation of the Robert Schenkkan play All the Way, and it’s still quite a sight to behold, just as it was on Broadway in 2014. Nothing beats witnessing this kind of larger-than-life portrayal onstage, of course. But the television version, presented by HBO, offers plenty of rewards, allowing Cranston to work the close-ups and liberating him from the confines of a theater set. Cranston’s performance is a gem — in his hands, this accidental president comes across as an amazing bundle of contradictions, someone who seems at once too vulgar for the job and just right for it.

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