FCC Media Ownership Rules: Current Status and Issues for Congress [Updated September 12, 2007]   [open pdf - 476KB]

"In June 2, 2003, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) 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) instructed 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. 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. On July 31, 2007, the FCC released for public comment 10 economic research studies of media ownership that it had commissioned, and on September 5, 2007, the FCC released for public comment peer reviews of those studies that are required by the Office of Management and Budget."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL31925
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