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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Current Legal Status of the FCC’s Media Ownership Rules

Kathleen Ann Ruane
Legislative Attorney

The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) media ownership regulations place limits on the number of broadcast radio and television outlets one owner can possess in a given market and place cross-ownership restrictions on these outlets and on the cross-ownership of broadcast properties and newspapers. The FCC is under a statutory obligation to review these rules every four years to determine whether the restrictions on ownership remain necessary in the public interest as the result of competition. These media ownership regulation reviews have often been controversial. Since the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Commission has had little success in relaxing its media ownership rules. The results of the FCC's 2002 review of the rules was largely invalidated by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC and remanded to the FCC for further consideration. The FCC responded by folding the Third Circuit's remand order into its 2006 Quadrennial Review of the Media Ownership Rules. This review sparked its own controversy, as well, and the resulting rule changes have been appealed to the Third Circuit. In conjunction with this appeal, the FCC has commenced its 2010 Quadrennial Review of its Media Ownership Rules. This report will discuss each of these events in greater detail.

Date of Report: August 23, 2010
Number of Pages: 11
Order Number: R41337
Price: $29.95

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