NAB: Include UHF In Broad Ownership Review
The National Association of Broadcasters told the FCC today that it thinks the commission should not make any decision on eliminating the UHF discount —a long-time loophole in the agency’s national ownership rules that some broadcasters have been relying on to beef up their station portfolios — unless it’s part of an overall review of the commission’s television station ownership rules.
“NAB believes that it would be arbitrary and capricious to eliminate the UHF discount without simultaneously considering the impact of that change on the broader rule and its goals,” the group said in comments.
NAB continued: ”The commission should consider this proposed modification, as it has in the past, as part of a proceeding that also considers the public interest costs and benefits of the current national television ownership cap. By eliminating the UHF discount without even addressing the broader rule, the commission would effectively alter the national cap without having determined whether such a change will promote or hinder its competition, diversity and localism goals.
“NAB agrees with the commission’s tentative conclusion that it faces no bar to evaluating its national television ownership rule in a proceeding separate from its broadcast ownership quadrennial reviews. Failing to do so in this context would be arbitrary.”
NAB concluded: “By re-evaluating its methods for calculating compliance with the national television ownership rule in the context of an examination of the rule itself, the commission can develop a complete record and analyze whether the change proposed … would promote or hinder the policy goals undergirding the national ownership limit. While NAB takes no position on what the ultimate outcome of any such review should be, the analysis is essential to the commission’s ultimate determination regarding both the cap and any related calculation methodologies….”