As expected, the FCC is moving forward with a plan to eliminate the Main Studio Rule. At its regularly scheduled meeting, Thursday, the Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, proposing to eliminate the main studio rule, which requires each AM, FM, and television broadcast station to have a main studio located in or near its local community. The Notice also proposes to eliminate the requirement that the main studio have full-time management and staff present during normal business hours, and the requirement that it be able to originate programming.
Chairman Ajit Pai said things have changed since the FCC first conceived the main studio rule almost 80 years ago. “Back then, perhaps, this made sense. But today, the rule appears outdated, unnecessary, and unduly burdensome. Community access and engagement remain important in the digital era, but technology has rendered physical studios unnecessary for those purposes. That’s because such activities are much more likely to occur via social media, email, or phone rather than through an in-person visit to a broadcast studio. Furthermore, broadcasters have shown that the main studio rule is a continuous cost that keeps them from serving their local communities in meaningful ways, like broadcasting additional local programming.”