One of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s goals is to overhaul about a thousand pages of regulations put on broadcasters, many of them decades old that make no sense in a world where broadcasters compete with the unregulated world of digital. The rule that requires stations to maintain a studio in or near its community of license may be the next to go.
As Pai pointed out during his Tuesday speech, the Commission first adopted main studio requirements before World War II. “And the initial idea behind this rule made sense. A local studio within a station’s service contour would help that station identify community needs and interests, facilitate community input, and give the public access to the station’s inspection file. I still believe it’s important for Americans to be able to share input with local broadcasters. But it seems to me that technological innovations have rendered local studios unnecessary. Nowadays, if individuals want to contact their local station, they are much more likely to do so by social media, e-mail, or phone call.”
During the FCC’s May meeting, the Commission will be voting on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that starts the process of eliminating the main studio rule.