FCC Media Ownership Rules: Current Status and Issues for Congress [Updated June 6, 2007]   [open pdf - 454KB]

"On June 2, 2003, the Federal Communications Commission [FCC] modified five of its media ownership rules, easing restrictions on the ownership of multiple television stations (nationally and in local markets) and on local media cross-ownership, and tightening restrictions on the ownership of multiple radio stations in local markets. The new rules have never gone into effect. Sec. 629 of the FY2004 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 108-199) instructs the FCC to modify its new National Television Ownership rule to allow a broadcast network to own and operate local broadcast stations that reach, in total, at most 39% of U.S. television households. On June 24, 2004, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ('Third Circuit'), in 'Prometheus Radio Project vs. Federal Communications Commission', found the FCC did not provide reasoned analysis to support its specific local ownership limits and therefore remanded portions of the new local ownership rules back to the FCC and extended its stay of those rules. Several media companies and media associations sought appeals at the Supreme Court, based in part on challenging the continued viability of the spectrum scarcity rationale for broadcast regulation, but on June 13, 2005 the Court declined to consider the appeals. In June 2006, the FCC adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on how to address the issues raised by the Third Circuit and initiating a statutorily-required quadrennial review of all of its media ownership rules, but did not propose specific rule changes. In November 2006, the FCC announced that it had commissioned 10 economic studies of media ownership, which are expected to be completed and made available for public comment during 2007."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL31925
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